Students' Perspective

Being a 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!

Joel Schut
International Orchestra 2002, 2006