Encounters/Encuentros: Nancy’s Reflection
“OrKidstra is like a second family to me and there is nobody else I would want to share this amazing experience to Mexico City with.”
“The experience I had in Mexico city was life-changing. I’m extremely glad I got to go with some of my favourite people on earth. I still remember having the phone call with Ms. Tina about the trip and I was so surprised that this was happening. OrKidstra is like a second family to me and there would be nobody else I would want to share this amazing experience with. Exploring Mexico City was extremely fun with everyone and I’m surprised we somehow didn’t get lost. That was probably because of our tour guide, Katie. I had churros for the first time on this trip and boy, I would go back just to have some more. The tacos were also super good. We got some tacos for 8 pesos, which is less than a Canadian dollar! If only poutine costed that much in Ottawa… The Mexico City experience was definitely the best and most memorable week of my whole life and I would give anything to experience it again.
I got to meet such amazing people on this trip. Honestly, my biggest and only regret is not bonding with people more. Sure, I met and talked with a lot of different people, but I wish I bonded more with everyone and spent more time trying. Fortunately, we all snagged each other’s social media so I can message them whenever I would like. There were so many talented musicians that were so good; most of the musicians were from Mexico and some were able to speak English. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to communicate with them because my Spanish vocabulary is very limited. Fortunately, I had this one phrase I was able to go to without fail, agua caliente, which means hot water. At the beginning, every day we would have one or two different stand partners, which meant we meant several new people every day! Once, I had a stand partner that I wasn’t able to communicate with due to the language barrier. Being the person I am, I used my broken Spanish and said my favourite phrase, agua caliente. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to understand what I said, probably because of the lack of context since we were also rehearsing, but we had a nice laugh at me, which was a nice little bonding experience.
This experience definitely helped me improve as a violinist. It pushed me to my limits, but the outcome was worth it. One of the things I noticed after the experience is that I got a lot better at shifting*. When I play as a second violinist, I’m usually in first position most of the time, occasionally third. One of my most memorable memories from the first day is seeing a lot of people playing in like 673rd position and then that was when I thought I had to step up my shifting game… even though shifting is probably my biggest struggle as a violinist. The music was also harder so I had to learn how to shift much higher than I was used to. I also realized that I started playing a lot louder. Dynamics have always been something I’ve been struggling with for as long as I can remember. All my teachers would always point it out and it probably annoyed them every time because I would always start playing quieter again. That’s probably because I’m paranoid about my intonation so I automatically assume nobody can hear me if I’m playing as quiet as a mouse. I think I started playing louder during this experience because I realized there were so many people that nobody (except for my stand partner) could hear me, so I stopped caring. I also realized while we were playing the different pieces, it was so much more fun to go all out than hiding and being worried about my intonation all the time.
*The definition of shifting positions on the violin is; moving your whole hand up or down the fingerboard to change notes.
Playing with Maestro Gustavo Dudamel, Arturo Marquez and Eduardo Garcia, was truly breathtaking. Hearing and playing all the pieces together with everyone from so many different countries and backgrounds was an experience I can’t explain with words. All the pieces were so amazing and I’ve never played such hard pieces before in my life. All of us have different opinions on our favourite pieces, but mine was personally ‘Alas (a Malala)’ by Arturo Marquez. Being conducted by the composer of the piece was something I never imagined would happen to me. ‘Alas (a Malala)’ is such a beautiful piece and when the choir came in, it was emotionally stunning. Eduardo only conducted us during rehearsals, but those were the best rehearsals I’ve ever had in my life. They were extremely intense and the way he was so into it gave me life. He would dance and move according to the song and it just made me so happy and more motivated to play. I’m still in shock that this whole experience happened. Maestro Dudamel was someone I never thought I would be able to ever see in person. Being conducted by him was intense. At the concert when we played Dvorak, that was the best run-through I’ve ever played. I felt like I couldn’t do anything to disappoint him so I had no choice but to do my best to not mess up.
The trip to Mexico was an experience I never thought I would ever have. I met so many amazing people and musicians there that I will miss greatly. I’m so glad that out of everyone, I was able to experience it all with my family from Orkidstra. ¡Hasta luego!” – Nancy, 16, OrKidstra student (violin)
OrKidstra experienced this extraordinary program, “Encounters/Encuentros: Music Unites the Continents” in Mexico City, March 1-4, 2018, thanks to the generosity of The Gustavo Dudamel Foundation, which fully funded the music and citizenship intensive for all attendees and provided full scholarships for our students.