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Waco Symphony Internship Program Allows Students To Be Professionals, Part 1

Sept. 28, 2010

When you're watching a symphony orchestra in person or on TV, it's easy to think about the harmonious sounds, or to be mesmerized by the instruments and musicians moving in tandem. You might not think about how remote the odds of that musician even making the stage are, given the competition for a seat in the Waco Symphony, or in larger symphonies. Given those odds, what's an aspiring student musician to do to get noticed in one short audition, especially when there's triple-digit competition for one slot?

Cara Trask is a senior flutist at Baylor. Before too long, she'll graduate and pursue her dream of playing professionally. Make that continuing to play professionally. Because Cara is one of 20 beneficiaries in the Waco Symphony Orchestra of an arrangement that's unique in the world of college and symphony. Stephen Heyde both teaches at Baylor and conducts the Waco Symphony. And he gets excited talking about his interns.

These exceptional students go through a rigorous process that leads to them auditioning for a coveted spot in the Waco Symphony Orchestra. The benefits are many.

Cara Trask practices between two and four hours a day, numbers not uncommon for students looking to perfect their craft. But she has both the added benefit and pressure of knowing that the practice is paying off professionally right now. Two years ago, while just a sophomore, she won a spot in the symphony playing the piccolo. Right away, she was thrust into a world playing alongside professionals, including her teachers.

It's easy to see what a valuable experience that is for a student. Just this week, Cara and other students performed on-stage with a Van Cliburn award winning pianist. Later this year, they'll get to perform amidst the backdrop of a Cirque de Soileil-esque acrobatics show. But the value goes far beyond the obvious. Tomorrow, we'll continue to look at the Waco Symphony Orchestra internship program, and how it helps students do far more than improve their playing. That's tomorrow on 103.3 fm. We'll have a more in-depth look at the Symphony this Sunday at 3 on KWBU Rewind. For KWBU News, I'm Derek Smith.

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