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CTYO (Cross Timbers Youth Orchestra) summer camp
I was recovering from the chicken pox one summer day just before the beginning of the seventh grade. I found myself slightly annoyed at the fact that my first day that I could leave the house finally healthy was indoors, a small classroom, and away from the fresh air. By the end of the week, however, I was going to rethink that.
I had my violin case with me that day and was complaining, “I don’t want to go. This is a waste of my time. I have better things to do on a summer morning than sit in a room and play the violin. Summer is a time for break, not work.” But as hard as I tried, my parents were not dissuaded. And that was how I found myself sitting in a room, clutching my violin and bow, feeling tiny and insignificant.
I couldn’t help but notice that I was both the youngest and probably least experienced player in the room. I figured out that I was the least experienced when the instructor, Sam Austin, told us to do vibrato on a certain note. He noticed that I wasn’t doing it, and I was forced to admit that I didn’t know how to. I couldn’t help but worry about it. What was I doing in the top group before I had even entered middle school? The room was full of high schoolers!
The day consisted of theory, sectionals, and playing with the entire orchestra. The only part that I thought I would be any good at was theory- easily my strong point in music. To my surprise, not only did I do well in theory, but I also found myself often the only one that knew the answer. It was the only thing that I had advantage of- and I used it.
Cross Timbers Youth Orchestra, or CTYO, was holding a summer camp, the camp I was in now. Now, I was rethinking my annoyance at coming here- the challenges certainly kept me on my toes.
It was challenging, all right. Without knowing it, I had put myself in the first chair- it just went to show that I really was inexperience. What amazed me was that I was second chair after the chair test- my vibrato had been a hindering factor. However, I was elated to find myself in such a good position.
There was only a week to learn everything- a challenge if there ever was one. That music was some of the hardest I’ve ever played in my life. I decided to practice it during that week and did an okay job keeping up.
Friday was the dreaded concert. It was bad enough getting stage fright- and worse realizing that I had left my shoulder rest at home. But I worked my way around it- in fact, the instructor didn’t even notice. I was amazed.
That night, I actually enjoyed my time onstage. A flier caught my eye when I sat down again- a flier for CTYO. I considered my night. It had gone better than expected. What was there to lose?
When the concert was over, I went immediately to my parents and showed them the flier. I was smiling as I posed the question.
“Mom, Dad, can I join the CTYO orchestra?”
They only considered it for a short time before agreeing. But I know one thing- I would have missed out on a lot if I hadn’t gone to CTYO summer camp.