1 International Youth Symphony San Diego A once in my life experience This summer I had the incredible chance of being a part of the 10 th annual international youth symphony (IYS) in San Diego, California. Me and 14 other international students aged from 16 to 22 years from all over the world came together to participate with 20 local students in an international orchestra. The aim was simply to all play together and have fun performing everywhere around San Diego but it ended up being much more then this, apart building strong friendships or living unforgettable moments. However in the beginning, things weren t that clear. We didn t get too much information about the camp or the program at first but a few days before it started things got clearer. I was getting ready for this long travel and looking forward to it. But what I could experience is indescribable. Now after this event I am exuberantly happy! I had the best 3 weeks in my life, I met the most interesting friends, I got to know the American way of life, I was able to play in a top level orchestra and so on! Let me tell you some of the best experiences I had in America. One of the best things we had in San Diego where the Rotary host families. An unbelievable nice and warm hearted American couple in their large house near La Jolla hosted me. Hosted by the same family was a Slovakian flutist named Dominika. I think we were one of the luckiest one concerning the host families. Our host parents were open, funny, interesting and interested, caring and most important: present. All the host families were
2 members of the Rotary Club and taking care of us 24/7. They build an essential part of this camp. Through them we got the chance of living in a real American way! They have been driving us around all the time as the public transportation isn t as good as it is in Switzerland, they were showing us around and talking with us about America in general. American life also means eating! The good point is that you only eat once a day but from 6 am to 11 pm! During this stay I gained 2.5 kg! Americans eat everything, everywhere, at anytime, any size for any reason. We got to try some of the American oversize experiences. Plus that we where eating all the time we got no exercise. You didn t even have to walk, just take the car and it can take you either to the restaurant, to the next post office or even into the bank. Some of the Europeans had to abandon this way of living for some hours a week so we once went running downtown, or we went swimming or hiking. The weather was always good, around 95 F and no clouds for most of the time. One of many Burgers I was positively surprised of the artistic level of the orchestra! From the very first rehearsal we had an incredible sound and we managed to play on a good and impressive level. We ve been playing a few orchestral pieces as well as some chamber orchestra ones; and they weren t that easy so we had to practice a lot. We had rehearsals every day for more then 2 weeks except on weekend days from 8 am to 3 pm with just a few breaks. We quickly got used to the fast pace of the rehearsal and we took much pleasure playing all together. Nearly every instrument of a big orchestra was represented. Our conductor was Mr. Jeff Edmonds. He is the conductor of the San Diego Youth Symphony (SDYS) all year round and made us the honor to conduct the IYS. He could be strict but in general he taught us some important technics for the pieces we played. In my eyes he had an American way of conducting with a lot of big and energized movements and long speeches when he sometimes could even get a bit lost in what he was saying.
3 Like I told you before I met extraordinary people! We all came from different countries with different traditions but what we could tell is that at the end we were kind of the same people. We had all achieved a very good level on our instruments but also in general we discovered that we had the overall same interests. It didn t take long for us to become friends and spend a lot of time together. As we were together from 8 am for nearly 12 h we got to know each other very fast and cemented a strong friendship! All of us had so many things to talk about and we undertook lots of stuff together. Saying goodbye to all of them was a tough moment, knowing that some of us won t see each other that soon. But we are already starting to plan a reunion for next summer in Switzerland. These friends I met in San Diego will for sure be important for a long long time. Something I need to mention is the location! Having a camp like this in a place like San Diego made it even more precious. It s a known City in the wonderful California by the ocean; who wouldn t dream of staying there? And being based in the beautiful Balboa Park was great. We had to get used to the huge American distances and that everyone drives everywhere. This has been causing some misunderstanding like when a guy told us: The next Jamba Juice is just down the avenue, buddy. In fact we have 3 points in that sentence. For one the distance problem; it turned out that we had a walking time of 30 minutes one way! The second one is Jamba Juice. We are all huge fans of Jamba Juice and were looking for the everywhere! Furthermore there was the English language. We have all been talking in English all the time and listening to us was surely funny, we all had our different accents and trying to understand what the other one just said Balboa Park I d like to just quickly tell you about our social activities. We had some activities nearly every day after rehearsal or on the weekend. And we got to see everything! Just for naming a few: we went to sea world, to universal studios LA, surfing, to the supermarket (might seem strange but we internationals where impressed by the huge size of Costco), to the park, to the baseball game, the beach or to one of the many parties. Those social
4 activities were a success and thanks to them we got to know San Diego better. To conclude I want to motivate every one of you readers to sign up for that wonderful camp. You won t only build new friendships or having several thousands of photos on your camera with lots of memories but you can be sure that you will be having the best few weeks with a maximum of unforgettable experiences! I d like to thank Rotary District 2000 for sending me to San Diego as well as Rotary District 5340 for welcoming me for MusicCamp. Laurent Högl Roy Our orchestra at the end of our big formal concert in Escondido. We are now big fans of the San Diego Padres baseball team
5 Rehearsal Rehearsal One of the many post concert selfies Everything is OVERSIZED Yes, everything!