This year, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra (SPCO) decided to spice up its annual European Tour by inviting a few young musicians along for the ride. Four girls – two from Ramsey Jr. High School and two from Ramsey International Fine Arts Magnet – were chosen to accompany the orchestra on an all-expenses-paid trip to Budapest and Vienna.
For a week in January, Cecilia Mazumdar Stanger, Claire Romey, Jasmine Randle, and Sophia Deady shadowed the St. Paul musicians and discovered what life is like as a professional performer. In Budapest, the girls spent time sightseeing and visiting Scheiber School, a local high school, where they ate lunch with an eighth-grade class. They also had the chance to interview the musicians, talk one-on-one with the conductor, and watch an orchestra rehearsal. “We got to sit right behind the violinists,” says Romey, a piano and cello player at Ramsey International Fine Arts Magnet. “It was fun to listen to how critical the conductor was.”
After four days in Hungary, the group took a three-hour train ride to Vienna where the students watched the SPCO perform at the prestigious Musikverein Concert Hall. “The concert hall was really beautiful, and since we heard some of the songs during the rehearsal, we knew what to expect,” says Romey. “They did a great job.”
Although this was the first time that the SPCO let orchestra students travel with them on tour, Communications Manager Kelly Belich doesn’t think it will be the last. “It was just such a positive experience for everybody,” says Belich. “The musicians loved it, and the kids really learned a lot.”
Romey says that she would definitely go on tour again if she could. But traveling the world with professional musicians isn’t the only thing on her list of to-dos. “I want to sing, work with animals, and even become president someday,” says Romey. “I’d like to play music, too, but there are so many choices.”