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Summerfest Opens May 26! Citizens Musicians Will Increase Our Forces

A favorite Summerfest opening night tradition is the inclusion in the orchestras ranks of area citizen musicians of all ages and varying years of experience.This coming Saturday,we'll be joined by 47 local players in Rimsky-Korsakov's witchy and spine-tingling Night on Bald Mountain.We contacted some of the players to get their take on what it's like to perform with an orchestra of professional musicians at Booth Amphitheatre.

Dave Brook, bassoon

his is my second time performing with NC Symphony. I played two years ago. I very much enjoy being right in the middle of a good orchestra, especially, the North Carolina Symphony. My main instrument is the contrabassoon and I have one. I have played it in twenty orchestras and bands in the last ten years. In the three years I have been here, I have played with the Triangle Wind Ensemble, the Durham Symphony, the Duke Orchestra, and the Tar River Symphonic Band, in addition to the NCS at Booth Amphitheatre. I play bassoon in the Triangle Wind Ensemble and the Cary Town Band now, and will be playing bassoon for this weekend's concert. I am trying to go through the more difficult passages each day until the concert.

Istarted bassoon in high school in 1955, but never owned one until 14 years ago, when I turned 60. I have only had a couple of lessons, but was able to work with Phil Austin of the Cleveland Orchestra. I have taught several people to play bassoon and worked in music stores after I retired from GM. I have a MBA but missed the music courses. I also buy, repair and sell good instruments.I'm a crossing guard and work at the NC Railroad Museum on Wednesdays. Great retirement so far!

Yoshi Nakamura, trombone

I have been the band director at Raleigh Christian Academy since 1996. On behalf of the community, I would like to thank the North Carolina Symphony and the Town of Cary for the great opportunity provided with the "Play with the Pros" concert.

I grew up in Japan; I started playing the trombone in the school band during 4th grade. My parents understood that an investment in music education was much more valuable than having a nice house or a car. I have grown to love instrumental music.

I went to Pensacola Christian College in Pensacola, FL, and majored in Music. I studied the trombone under Dr. Ronald G. Smith who now teaches at Piedmont International University in Winston-Salem, NC. After graduation in 1996, I started teaching bands and instrumental lessons at Raleigh Christian Academy to students in grades four through twelve. During my 16 years in Raleigh I have had the opportunity to play with the Beacon Baptist Church Orchestra, Cary Town Band, and the Triangle Wind Ensemble. I believe very strongly that music education has a vital part in the lives of people young and old.

I always look forward to the annual "Play with the Pros" event. I make sure to sign up, and encourage my high school students to sign up for this great opportunity as well. I always get excited when my name is drawn to play with the Symphony.Receiving my music for the concert is always a great motivation for me to diligently practice since I want to play at my best when I sit with the North Carolina Symphony members. I get the CDs of the pieces we are going to play, listen to the piece, and practice playing the piece along with the CD. Playing with the North Carolina Symphony is much more satisfying than any other community bands or orchestras I play with on a regular basis.

Although we want to play well at the concert,"Play with the Pros" participants are not auditioned ahead of time for their spot; it is not about your ability, but it is rather a time to meet the professionals, get to know them on a personal level, attend a rehearsal with the symphony, and after the performance receive kind and encouraging words from the symphony players. These reasons are why I have participated six times. The $5 registration fee (or free to Cary residents) is a small price to pay for the opportunity to sit on the stage with the pros.Each time I have participated in this event, I have left the event with valuable experience, new friends, and a deeper love for our North Carolina Symphony.

Christopher and Katie Rouleau, violin

We are a violin-playing brother-and-sister duo from Cary, North Carolina. This is our first time playing with the NC Symphony and we're very excited to be participating. We've grown up with music as an ever-present influence in our lives and, we would like to share a bit about ourselves and our experiences getting ready for the NC Symphony Summerfest Play with the Pros Concert at Koka Booth.


My musical journey began when my grandmother introduced me to Andre Rieu when I was still a toddler.We would tune in to his concerts when they were televised and dance around the family room.By age two, I asked my parents if I could start violin lessons.They told me that I could begin at age four, so about a month before my fourth birthday, I reminded them of their promise and the rest, really, is history!

Since then, I've been exploring all types and mediums of music.I do have a soft spot for classical music, and it has remained my favorite style of music to perform through my near 13 years of violin playing.In more recent years, I've been a part of my middle and high school string ensembles, and I pick up my trusty ukulele for fun every now and then. Oddly enough, I also compose and mix various forms of electronic dance music-- primarily trance and earlier dubstep, two genres which are about as opposite as Beethoven and Debussy.That being said, though, this dichotomy has allowed me to learn more about the intricacies of music itself and has granted me many opportunities to learn about one of the things I love the most.

When we received the letter from the Town of Cary notifying us about the lottery for this event, I jumped at the opportunity to join. Both my middle school and high school have taken yearly trips to see the Symphony perform, and our parents have taken us on a regular basis to attend their concerts. What truly impresses me about the Symphony is their incredible talent, hard work, and their good nature. My top priority in music is to enjoy it and make it enjoyable, and while I know the members of the Symphony take their music very seriously, they always share a laugh during their open rehearsals and look like they're having fun, even on performance nights. Being able to play on stage with my musical role models is truly an honor.

When I first learned of the pieces we were going to be performing, I must admit I was a bit apprehensive. I play a good bit of my music by ear, and after listening to the pieces, I knew I was going to have to do some technical work. With focused lessons from our jovial and talented teacher (Mike Danchi) and through practice with and without my sister, I've gotten to the point where I feel very comfortable with the pieces we will be performing. I'm looking forward to our concert very much and hope you will enjoy the show!


My love for violin started when I was four, when I went to my brother's violin lessons.I was enchanted by the music and my brother's playing, and asked if I could play too. My parents both said yes and I have been enjoying my violin ever since.My family has really supported me throughout my nine years of playing.

Like my brother, I have been exploring many types of music, from disco, to soft rock, to country, and to dubstep. I also love to sing and dance to whatever song I hear.My brother has also been teaching me about music and different genres.

Preparing for the concert has been a lot of fun and a lot of hard work. I have been taking extra lessons (thank you Mike!), increased my daily practice time, repeatedly listened to the pieces and added even more practice time with my brother.

When we received the letter from the Town of Cary, I was very excited at the possibility and asked Mom to sign me up. The symphony has been a part of my life ever since I was little. Regularly, we go see the Symphony, and one of the most memorable was the time that Denise Graves sang with Symphony. We enjoy seeing these performances, and they help me learn about music.

I am really glad that my brother and I were chosen, and playing with the NC Symphony is a huge honor. I can't wait for the concert! Hope you all enjoy it!

Ben Mygatt, violin

My sister and I are really looking forward to our first time participating in the Play with the Pros Concert! We are both violinists: I am a rising 9th grader at Raleigh Charter High School, and have played violin for nine years. My sister, Tess, is a senior at Raleigh Charter High School, and has played violin for 11 years. We both started our lessons through the Meredith College Suzuki program with teachers Lisa Randolph, Joey O'Donnell, and Dana Friedli. My current teacher is Dovid Friedlander, the Associate Concertmaster for the North Carolina Symphony.

Tess and I are also members of the Youth Philharmonic Orchestras in Raleigh; in fact, Night on Bald Mountain was one of the pieces in the Triangle Youth Symphony's repertoire several years ago, and since my sister has already played it, she only needs to learn the Peer Gynt Suite. I've been practicing several hours a week since I picked up the music on May 4. I love classical music, and the pieces chosen for this concert are really fun to play! Thank you to the Town of Cary for this wonderful opportunity-- I don't have to wait to get hired by a symphony in order to play with one!

Comments (Comment Moderation is enabled. Your comment will not appear until approved.)
Roger Larsen's Gravatar Roger Larsen, Percussion: This was my first time with "Play with the Pros Concert". I am a novice who has been playing percussion with the “Really Terrible Orchestra of the Triangle” for two years. When I was selected for the Pros, I asked myself, am I worthy and am I ready to play with such an elite group. NC Symphony's percussionists Rick and Ken made me feel very welcomed from the first hand shake to last boom. They worked very quickly and efficiently to determine my skills, techniques, strengths and weaknesses. Their friendly professional attitude created a calming effect that got my butterflies under control. They were right there coaching me through the rehearsal and the concert. They created the confidence and the peace I needed to become part of the orchestra and not just an individual. I want to thank these two men for their patience and skills to make this an incredible experience that I will never forget.
# Posted By Roger Larsen | 5/31/12 10:03 AM
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