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Dear Youth Symphony Musicians,

At this point tonight, we would have celebrated a fantastic concert, Jocelyn’s outstanding concerto performance, and honored our 30 amazing Seniors. We would have finished unloading all of the percussion back at the building and be headed home for the night. It’s still like a dream to me (the quarantine closures) and surreal to think that there is a chance we may not get to see all of our work this semester come to fruition with a performance. I’m hopeful, but I’m sad. And I’m so sorry to miss this special celebration tonight with you.

I have been a conductor with the Albuquerque Youth Symphony Program for 22 years. That is almost half of my lifetime! And when I look back on my time here, I am most grateful for you. I am thankful for each one of you, and the thousands of students I have had the pleasure to work with in the years before you. You have enriched my life and blessed me beyond belief.

When I was interviewed and hired by Mr. Kempter at the Frontier Restaurant on a Saturday morning in May of 1998, I had no idea how much AYSP would come to mean to me. I had no idea how much you and each one of my students over the past 22 years would teach me. I have learned that you are funny. I learned that sometimes when I could get angry at you for disrupting rehearsal by being silly, that it really is good to just laugh with you and see the humor in it. You have made me laugh a lot.  🙂

I have learned that getting upset rarely motivates. I have learned that having high expectations and clear goals, supported by lots of love and encouragement, helps you rise to the occasion. I have learned that music can heal a hurting heart. I have learned that playing with passion is more important than just playing the right notes and rhythms. I have also learned that kindness is the most effective teaching tool, and that the presence of music in every students’ life is there to uplift, inspire and create family. I have learned that AYSP is my family.

I have relished the rehearsal challenges of motivating the unmotivated and keeping the most advanced from becoming bored. I have loved the quirky and unexpected comments you say. I have savored the conversations through text or on the phone, in my office before rehearsal, or at the vending machine during break. I have embraced the constant learning and growing. Hundreds of rehearsal plans later, I am grateful for the chance to have had important work to do each day for you. You are amazing young men and women that will build our world for the better, and who have shaped my heart for good. You are amazing!

Remember that while we may be here for music, it is the people who matter the most. AYSP isn’t about the conductors or the staff. AYSP is about you. Thank you for your passion. Thank you for your humor. Thank you for your hard work. Thank you for the amazing music. And, most importantly, thank you for being a special part of my life by just being you.

Your friend always,

Ms. Siverson

PS – At tomorrow’s class, we will be watching a video of our Fall Concert from first semester. Feel free to invite your families!  Join in at:   I look forward to seeing you then.

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