A Golden Opportunity

Josephine Cowart, Staff Writer

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Golden walls, golden chandeliers. Every ornate detail and carving makes the hall feel even more magical. As the orchestra starts playing, the audience can’t help but be taken aback by the breathtaking acoustics. When the orchestra stops, the hall is silent except for the ringing of the final note. Pure perfection.

Junior Josephine Cowart had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity this past summer to travel to Vienna, Austria with her youth orchestra, East Texas Youth Orchestra, for the Summa Cum Laude Music Festival.

“I first found out that our orchestra was planning to go to Vienna in late spring of 2017,” Josephine said. “I was immediately intrigued and knew that it was definitely something I wanted to be a part of.”

This seven-day trip was in the works for almost two years, with the students doing fundraisers and working to have the opportunity to go. 

“When the money aspect came into play, I was worried that this trip would only ever be a dream and never a reality,” Josephine said. “However, a generous anonymous person donated money to fund both me and my sister’s expenses.”

While in Vienna, the musicians were taken on tours of various historical landmarks, such as the Musik and Theater (MuTH) where the Vienna Boys Choir performs, and performed a total of three concerts in and around the Vienna area.

“I would have to say that the performance at the Musikverein (also known as the Golden Hall) was my favorite,” Josephine said. “The acoustics and architecture were absolutely incredible, and when we played it was magical.”

Not only did the musicians get a chance to perform overseas, they also were surrounded by orchestras and choirs from all over the world, from Australia to Brazil.

“The people I met were honestly one of the best parts of the festival,” Josephine said. “It was so eye-opening to listen and talk to people from different cultures. Everyone I met was so talented and supportive of each other. I would definitely want to go back.”