For some people, their big moment begins when the puck is dropped or the ball is thrown. For Susan Zhao, it began when the curtain started to rise and the lights turned to her, her cello, and the other members of the string orchestra on stage with her. However, this was not Collingwood’s String Orchestra or even her weekly group. This was an orchestra made up of players from all across the United States and a few from the Philippines. These incredibly talented musicians were all give a once in a lifetime opportunity – to play at Carnegie Hall. Only two players from Canada were invited to join the orchestra, and Susan was one of them.
Carnegie Hall is an extremely prestigious music hall in New York. Some of the most critically acclaimed musicians have played here including Susan’s idol, Yo-Yo Ma. Susan’s trip to New York may have been short, but she claims there was never a dull moment. Unlike the rest of the ensemble, she had only been practicing the music for about two weeks after sending in her audition. The moment Susan stepped off the plane it was time to get to work. After two full days of rehearsal came the big night. Nerves weren’t an issue until moments before the concert began.
“I was fine until about 20 minutes before and then everyone started freaking out which started to mess with my head,” said Susan when I asked if she was nervous to play in front of 2,000 people some of which are very well known among the orchestra community. The concert went smoothly. Susan told me if she were ever able to have an opportunity like this again, she would like to be more prepared and start practicing earlier. This is a major accomplishment and Collingwood is proud to have such a talented young musician in our family.
By: Tiana Wong