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SEM Seniors Strike a Chord at GBYO Concert

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Emma Brentjens, Contributor

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On Sunday, February 12 seniors Dabin Han and Amber Ye participated in the Greater Buffalo Youth Orchestra (GBYO) concert at Slee Hall at the University at Buffalo’s Amherst campus. The orchestra consists of 70 students who play a variety of string, brass, woodwind and percussion instruments.

“I started [playing the violin] when I was about four-and-a-half. So it’s been about fourteen years,” said Dabin, who plays in the first violin section. A seasoned musician, Dabin began in the GBYO when she was in the fourth grade. “There’s a smaller orchestra called GBYSO. It is sort of like a middle school program. It is just a string orchestra,” hence the S in the name. By the time she was in the eighth grade Dabin was the concertmaster of the orchestra. “The concertmaster is the first chair first violin player. That is the person who gets to play all the solos,” she explained. Among the concertmaster’s other responsibilities are helping the orchestra tune.

“I think we had fun,” said Amber of Sunday’s concert.

Amber plays in the second violin section. While the first violin section plays the melody, the second violin plays the accompaniment. She started learning the instrument when she was eleven-years-old. “I’ve been playing piano for a while. I wanted to try something new,” she said. Amber has been a member of GBYO since last May when she auditioned. Having previously played in the Buffalo State Philharmonic, Amber feels that GBYO is more selective and educational.

Both Amber and Dabin have received amazing opportunities from participating in GBYO. Every four years the orchestra travels internationally. “Freshman year I was able to participate in a concert tour of Italy. Over spring break we flew to Italy and played four concerts there for over ten days,” Dabin said. In addition to performing the group went to several famous cities including Milan and Florence and saw the Vatican. One of Dabin’s favorite traditions is the side-by-side concert with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra (BPO). “That’s our big thing every year.” This year will be Amber’s first concert with the BPO. “I’m a bit scared but very excited,” she said.

You get to be around people with similar interests and when you’re in an orchestra like GBYO.”

— Dabin Han

When asked what she enjoys most about playing in GBYO Amber responded like a true musician. “You don’t always hear yourself, you hear the whole piece,” she said. Dabin likes the orchestra community. “You get to be around people with similar interests and when you’re in an orchestra like GBYO. You get a lot of opportunities to play with professionals,” she said.

While Amber and Dabin perform outside of school, they are also hard at work in SEM. They are also SEM ensemble members. Both agree that music is an integral part of SEM’s diverse and skilled community. “It’s an opportunity to showcase the talent in the school.  It also brings the school together,” Dabin said. Amber agreed, “You connect a lot with people through music.”

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SEM Seniors Strike a Chord at GBYO Concert