“One summer evening in 1993 I stumbled across a performance of an orchestra playing on the radio. It happened to be the Homecoming Concert of the 1993 IYSO being broadcast on Blue Lake Radio. As I listened to the comments of the announcer and realized how young, yet how good, the group was, I went and got my husband and oldest daughter to come listen. We were all amazed. My husband and I told our daughter that this was a group she might be able to be part of if she worked hard on her horn!
Fifteen years later, in 2008, our 5th and youngest child, Jacob, traveled with the IYSO. All of our kids have been blessed with the unforgettable opportunity to play under the direction of Mr. Stansell. This was in itself a remarkable experience.
As parents, we have found the International Program to be a wonderful investment in our childrens’ lives. The program is highly organized and managed meticulously. Expectations of the participants are very high, musically and socially. We’ve always had complete confidence in the safety and well-being of our children while they were gone. We knew they would have excellent supervision.
Our children have benefitted greatly. Their love of classical music, particularly orchestral music, has grown. They have gained confidence in dealing with new experiences, different cultures and foods, and in being gracious. They have made great friends and memories along the way, and will be better prepared for life because of this wonderful experience.”
Joel and Teresa Hunsberger
“Being part of the Blue Lake International Youth Symphony Orchestra has been one of my most cherished musical, cultural, social and personal experiences.
The opportunity to perform musical masterpieces with talented peers in some of the greatest halls in the world is priceless. I’ll never forget the sound of the first chord in the Haydensaal. Rooted in culture and tradition, it had a warmth matched only by the host families who graciously took us into their homes in each community we visited.
How do you begin to describe climbing a medieval castle in Tarascon, canoeing on the Bodensee in view of the alps, watching Germany win a world cup soccer game in the Rheinsburg town square, and an impromptu trip to see the Eiffel tower because my host family could not believe I’d “never seen Paris!” Yet, my experiences with the IYSO were more than that. We were cultural ambassadors forging friendships and promoting understanding through music. Three hour meals with host families were not uncommon as we shared stories, learned about differences, discovered similarities and developed close friendships.
All in all, the International Program is more than a trip to Europe. It is an opportunity to grow musically, culturally, socially and personally and is an enduring opportunity every young musician should embrace!”