One of the great perks of being a conductor and a teacher is having the opportunity of meeting some incredible people along the way. When I was in China, I met a group of young musicians first starting out playing in an orchestra. I had the thrill to work with them for several weeks. Then there was the time when I was conducting in the old Soviet Union (many years ago) and I muttered to myself, after a long rehearsal, “Boy, I wish I had a beer.” The next day one of the percussionists of the Orchestra, definitely not a rich man, laid a case of beer on my podium.
There have been times of great inspiration as well–where one particular young woman comes to mind.
She was 17 when she arrived in the United States, but due to some personal circumstances, she came to this country without any documents of the years of hard (music) work she produced while in high school. This alone would have frustrated most of us to just give up. Not to mention that her English was minimal to boot. What she did in the next 18 months is nothing short of astounding.
She needed to learn English first so she found a local free ESL class and went to class on a regular basis and before long learned English, just like that. This studious Latina from Brazil had bigger dreams; to attend a University in the United States, but she had no diploma or grade transcripts to show what classes she took and excelled in. Though this would be a roadblock to many, it was not one to her. She took the G.E.D. exam and went to a community college for a year. Still not enough for her, she had a dream and was determined to fulfill it. She applied to several major Universities after studying for and eventually taking the incredibly difficult and ominous S.A.T.s.
With all that behind her, she is now living her dream. Presently she is a full-time second year student at the prestigious University of Virginia with hopes of being accepted into their world-renown School of Business.
I might also mention that this bright, highly motivated young woman is my daughter!
Gabriela, the best of luck to you as you embark on this wonderful journey! I am in awe of what you have accomplished in less than two years; your family loves you and is so very proud of you.
Hopefully, others will read this story and realize there is nothing you can’t accomplish if you are willing to work hard, show great tenacity and have a burning desire to be the best.