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Students' Perspective

“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!”

Joel Schut
International Orchestra 2002, 2006