DAY 3—March 14, 2013
YOLA at the Barbican
Samantha: Today was tiring! We had breakfast and headed toward Guildhall to have an improv session. It was really fun. We did a weird circle where we passed around noises then we composed a song together. It was from a Japanese fisherman folk song.
Isaac: Improv is something we could do at YOLA. Making small riffs as we go along. Eventually, we could make a great piece. We could make an official YOLA anthem for our orchestra.
Samantha: Afterwards we went to a secondary school and worked with some kids from a program called Drum Works. IT WAS SO COOL!!! I’ve always secretly wanted to learn how to play drums so I had a lot of fun. The kids were really nice. They helped us out when we got lost during the cadence and didn’t laugh.
Abdiel: Today during the Drum Works workshop I learned how to let loose. All my life I’ve lived as if I was being critiqued by some sort of audience. But the people at the Drum Works workshop were extremely helpful. I don’t think I’ve ever felt this much comfort among a crowd of strangers.
Isaac: I’m going to be sore tomorrow. That drum thing was painfully awesome.
Samantha participates in the Drum Works workshop
Samantha: Then we went back to the Guildhall school to rehearse with the London kids. Dan wasn’t kidding—they really were excited to meet us and Gustavo. They were so nice. They thought we went surfing after school!
Laura: I was excited to finally meet the orchestra and play the entire piece with them. They were really nice and very good musicians. My stand partner was an 11 year old named Fred.
Samantha: I had an epiphany during rehearsal: I SO need to go to a music school for the rest of high school. I just love rehearsing and playing music. I can’t stand being in a school with no music. I just know that I want to be a musician.
Abdiel: Overall, today was a very successful day. I met people I could live with for the rest of my life, I felt the passion for playing my instrument during rehearsal, and I fell more in love with the city.
DAY 4 – March 15, 2013
Major Events: Participating in Future Play Symposium and Discover Dudamel open rehearsal.
Samantha: Today was the big day! I ate waffles with nutella, then off we went to the Barbican. We saw [YOLA Student] Rodas speak as well as [YOLA at EXPO Program Director] Paloma and [YOLA at HOLA Program Director] Christine. I was almost brought to tears. The way they spoke about the program was so…I’m not sure how to explain. They sounded very proud. When Rodas spoke, she blew all of us away. I’m so proud of her. I’ve known Rodas for about 2, maybe 3 years? Rodas’ speech moved many people in the audience. Everyone seemed a bit speechless.
After a break, we headed back to the stage because Gustavo would be arriving soon. To be honest I wasn’t nervous. I usually don’t get nervous before concerts. I feel as if it’s an audition. It’s an audition for myself to see whether or not I meet my own expectations. I’ve learned to have really high expectations for myself.
For some reason, right when they introduced Gustavo, my violin went completely out of tune. I freaked out so badly. My pegs wouldn’t stay put! I finally caught the attention of the principal of my section. He told me to fake it. I knew that was probably the answer I was going to get, but I still didn’t want to hear it. How can you fake Tchaik?! I had to adjust all the notes as we played and tuned during the rests.
Miguel and Raymond keep the clarinet section together as the Discover Dudamel Orchestra, composed of 10 YOLA students and young musicians from around London, rehearses Tchaikovsky’s “Romeo and Juliet” and Elgar’s “Nimrod” with Gustavo Dudamel and an audience of hundreds.
We ended with Nimrod [from Elgar’s “Enigma Variations”]. I fell in love with that piece. Gustavo made us really feel it. Whenever I’ve performed with him, he always helps me play to my fullest. I think he brings the best out of everyone and that’s why he’s such a good conductor. He’s extremely passionate about what he does. I have so much respect for him. Aside from that, he is extremely kind and humble and, if it weren’t for him, we probably wouldn’t have come to London.
Playing with kids from the UK was definitely an amazing experience. It’s amazing how people can talk about what they love with people from a completely different continent. We took the tube back to the hotel. Mind the gap, please. We were all so tired and had no trouble sleeping.
YOLA takes the Tube
DAY 5—March 16, 2013
Major Events: Visit to In Harmony Lambeth, exploring London landmarks, and Indian Food.
Raymond teaches a young clarinetist at In Harmony Lambeth
Raymond: As of today I have been assured that teaching is not to only teach a student, but to know them as an individual, friend, someone who can make a difference in this world. We went to a program called In Harmony. When we arrived, I noticed it was a lot like YOLA at HOLA—young children eager for musical knowledge. We played pass the clap, met each other, and then started to play music with them. I was fortunate to sit next to two young kids, Korebe and Zara. Zara was an 8 year old who plays clarinet and has been playing since year 2. Korebe, on the other hand, has played for a week. After a while of leading him through scales and observing how he plays, I decided to take him out of the rest of the orchestra and work with him 1-on-1. I felt as if I needed to, as if it were my responsibility. I began with the very basics: breathing. I soon noticed his eyes that looked at me as I played my clarinet. He wants to learn music, but hadn’t been taught yet. So I decided to change that. The reason Korebe joined In Harmony was to become like his older brother. He also wanted to become well known and respected. That’s when I remembered those eyes—the ambition to reach someone. In many ways I saw my younger brothers (also YOLA students) in him. I think that’s why I decided to give him my time to teach him clarinet. I saw potential. I knew this small orchestra meant that they were part of a huge movement.
YOLA at Big Ben
Samantha: Afterwards we went sight-seeing. We went to go see Big Ben, then across the river was the London Eye. Not so far away from there we saw the church where the princess got married. Then we saw Buckingham Palace. It was really fun and we took a lot of pictures.
Raymond: Later in the evening, we all went out for Indian food. IT WAS AMAZING. My taste buds went crazy.
Samantha: The food was so good! It was all of the kids’ first time trying it. Although we were all tired, we ate a lot and had a great time conversing about our trip.
Raymond: Amazing last night in London.
DAY 6—March 17, 2013
Major Events: A visit to Abbey Road and a long plane ride back to Los Angeles.
Edson, Samantha, Rodas and Abdiel pay homage to a classic.
Samantha: Today I woke up at 6:30am to go to Abbey Road. As we walked there, my heart was actually pounding faster. I am a huge Beatles fan. I have 580 of their songs and know almost all the lyrics to every song. We took pictures of us walking on the famous Abbey Road.
Raymond: I had a blast spending time with the other half of the YOLA family, YOLA at EXPO. Great way to meet teachers in a different way. I met new people and got closer and formed a stronger friendship with those I hadn’t met before. I really hope one day, when we have a professional orchestra (or sooner!), we can do this again. I am proud of what we have accomplished together as one. Now, off to LA to continue our “normal lives.”