The Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra’s impact extends beyond the concert halls and rehearsal rooms. Our mission is "Shaping Future Leaders Through Music," and we focus a great deal of time on making certain that our musicians are able to grow as artist citizens of the world.
To that end, BPYO members are asked not only to master their parts and to gain a deep understanding of the musical score but also to engage in dialogue with Maestro Zander and the BPYO team through "white sheets," where they are invited to share their thoughts on all aspects of the music and the rehearsal process, as well as offer feedback and reflections about their musical and life experiences.
At the end of our 2017 tour to Peru, Argentina, and Uruguay, we asked our players to write white sheets answering "What will you take away from this tour?" Here are some of their replies:
“In any other setting, a first conversation with someone usually consists of small talk, but in BPYO, a first conversation can teach you something about yourself. Believing in the possibility of a great first conversation - that is something I will carry with me for the rest of my life.”
- Sarah Calame, violin
- Reed Puleo, percussion
“Music has been used to make political standpoints, and even to act as a conduit into the spiritual world. The realization I had on this tour is that our music-making can be, and is, just as impactful. A lot of the time, we see this on a much smaller scale, so it can be very under-appreciated. These last few weeks have opened my eyes to this, and I have since appreciated all of the experiences and opportunities that involve music.
We brightened the days, and even lives, of so many people. We touched their lives in ways that couldn’t be possible without music-making. I was surprised to realize that these beautiful people also touched my life in ways I could not predict. Those people, concerts, side-by-sides, and experiences gave me hope for a future in music, and in life.”
- Hannah Culbreth, french horn
“People have often said the job of a musician is to be the ambassador for emotion and feeling. “Ambassador” commonly refers to politicians; whose duty are to serve and speak for those who cannot speak themselves. In music it is the same; it is the musician’s job to play music with purpose, and it is their responsibility to play for those who otherwise could not express themselves. Seeing the state in which so many people in South America live in will change the way I make music forever; it has inspired me play with more energy, more passion, and more responsibility…this tour has made me realize classical music’s true potential for helping improve human relationships. The outreaches were a major part of it, but more than anything every single concert we held proved to me that the universality of classical music connects people, regardless of whether people share a common ethnic background, or a common tongue. “
“The potential in relationships is what makes music worth playing for; to create bonds and ties with those to improve society. And the fact that every crowd we played for loved the Stars and Stripes Forever proves that people are willing to stay strong. People are resilient, and they have always had a positive side that helps humanity prevail in resolving conflicts. Through music, people can put aside the hatred, the resentment, and all attitudes which exist in the pathways to conflict. Music produces passion, energy and love, but more than anything, helps open the minds of people.”
- Sung Ho Moon, cello
Picture of Sarah Calame: Nielson Photography
All other pictures: Paul Marotta Photography