Students given the opportunity to play with professional musicians


Denise Martinez Sickich

Missoula symphony and Missoula Youth Symphony performing in the Dennison Theater

Missoula Youth Symphony was given the opportunity to perform along with Missoula Symphony on November 4th and November 6th. Missoula Youth Symphony students joined to perform one piece in the Superheroes concert at the Dennison theater. Since the stage was too small to fit all the players, half of the high school students played on the first show and the other on the second. Each Missoula Youth Symphony student sat with an adult stand partner from the Missoula Symphony to play Jean Sibelius’s Finlandia op. 26.

“There is so much to
learn from the musicians,
from how they conduct
themselves, to their
tonality and how they
express the music.”

Many of the Missoula Youth Symphony have not performed on a stage as big as the Dennison theater, or as honored. The stakes are higher and the pressure was on the students to play their best. Only having done 6 rehearsals with Sentinel High School’s conductor Ryan Davis, Missoula Youth Symphony players were given an opportunity to have Julia Tai, director for the Missoula Symphony, as a conductor.. This has been a big step for Missoula Youth Symphony, being able to make a moment like this possible had a huge impact on the students. The main objective of this partnering of the symphonies was to teach the students many lessons. There is so much to learn as a musician and there is always room to grow. Sitting next to and being able to hear all the professional musicians with years of experience brings new viewpoints to the students. That opportunity has given an insight on what is possible for a future in studies of music to the young musicians. The students in the Youth Symphony can see where music can lead them, especially in Missoula. Thatcher Sickich, a bassist in the Missoula Youth Symphony had this to say about the events, “Orchestra good.”

In my personal experience, I was very grateful for this opportunity, and did my best to get the most out of it. This is my second year in Missoula Youth Symphony as a violist and I have learned a lot through this concert. This performance made me very stressed, and excited. I was nervous due to the fact I would be having to meet and play with the principal violist, Sara Schultz Levesque. I was relieved to find all the adults from the symphony were very inviting and glad to meet all of us. There is so much to learn from the musicians, from how they conduct themselves, to their tonality and how they express the music. All these aspects I have viewed come from experience and time from playing the music and understanding it. Just listening to the Missoula Symphony is much more different from playing with them. People have paid to come and watch the Symphony, they filled the seats and the balcony above. I felt overwhelmed with the spotlight and all the noise coming from the audience. Yet the performance was stunning, it was wonderful hearing the band fill the halls, and the power of the orchestra together with all the strong players. It was an experience I will never forget, and had taught me a lot. 

Superheroes, a Missoula Symphony concert has made an impact on Missoula Youth Symphony students. This opportunity has provided the students with knowledge of music and the community. It is likely that there will be more experiences in the future for the students in the youth symphony. I am very grateful for this opportunity to have shared this beautiful music with fellow musicians, family and the audience.