On October 5, Music Department Teachers, Yves and Melissa Clouzet, chauffeured 12 orchestra students to the Macky Auditorium in Boulder, Colorado. This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the Campion Academy Orchestra. This performance was special because the Greater Boulder Youth Orchestra (GBYO) was accompanied by the world-renowned violinist, Midori Goto.
“As soon as Madi came in (all excited) to rehearsal one day and said that GBYO would be accompanying her (Midori), I knew I was going to be there to hear it,” said Yves Clouzet, Head of the Music Department at Campion Academy. “I was am so glad that AdCo was able to accommodate class and work time for the 12 students that chose to come. This was truly a once in a lifetime opportunity! The experience is right up there with watching LaBron James drop 65 points on the Nuggets at the Pepsi Center, or seeing Tom Brady skewer the Broncos secondary for 5 TD’s and 400+ yards, or following Tiger Woods on an epic -17 final round to win a PGA Tour event. Midori is truly and unequivocally a master violinist.”
Midori, a child prodigy, performed for the United Nations Messengers of Peace at age 6. She performed with the New York Philharmonic by the time she was 11. At 14 years old, two of Midori’s strings broke during a performance of Leonard Bernstein’s “Serenade after Plato’s Symposium” under the direction of Bernstein himself. After the first string broke, she traded instruments with the concert master and remaining completely calm, continued to play. When the second string broke, she again swapped violins, this time with the associate concert master, and finished the song without missing a single note. She was given a standing ovation for her performance that night. Midori had handled it with composure and style beyond her years.
The Campion Orchestra students arrived early on October 5 to attend a special session with Midori on effective personal practice. Midori suggested setting a goal, practicing without distractions, the need to have a practice plan, and to divide practice time into sections to cover all the material. “The talk Midori gave about practicing was definitely inspiring,” said Megan Michalenko, violinist in the CA orchestra. “She talked about organizing your practice time and making sure you get the best out of every time you practice.”
“I’m always looking for ways to improve. Midori’s talk on practice was very applicable and has inspired me to make the most of my instrument,” said Sami Hodges, violinist in the CA Orchestra. “Going to Midori’s concert with GBYO was one the best things I’ve ever experienced!”
“The concert inspired me to work on how I practice daily and to never stop improving,” said Caleb Wehling, trumpet player in the CA Orchestra.
Madeline Jordan a student at Campion Academy and a member of the Greater Boulder Youth Orchestra Symphony, had the rare opportunity to accompany Midori for this performance of Mendelssohn’s “Violin Concerto in E Minor.” “It was a dream come true to play the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto and it is was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to accompany such an amazing violinist,” said Madeline. “After many hours of practice, I was super excited to finally perform this piece with the Symphony and Midori!”
The third movement of the “Violin Concerto in E Minor” by Mendelssohn is a beautiful and well-known piece. It is a technical piece and is played at a very rapid tempo. “I have heard live renditions of this Concerto by classmates (now colleagues) and professors at Andrews University during my time at the Music Department there. Midori is on another level. Out of this world. We’re talking not-even-in-the-same-galaxy,” says Clouzet. “She played beautifully and effortlessly. On top of that, her tempo was at least one-third faster than anything I have every heard live. I was already in tears before she finished playing the first phrase.”
Midori is unique because she is using her God-given talent of music to connect people, encourage community, and promote change. “What is most impactful is that an artist of her caliber would choose to focus this part of her career on working with young kids and youth to make sure that are exposed to excellent instruction and training,” reflected Clouzet. “It was a truly emotional, inspiring, and galvanizing experience that I will remember until I am an old man.”
In a GBYO rehearsal last week, Midori spoke of “leading from the middle.” We often think of leadership as being first, but she shared that doing your best and helping others wherever you are seated in the orchestra can be a benefit to others. This is a model of servitude that Christ showed us when He came to this earth to share the love of Heaven with broken and sinful souls.
It is with appreciation to the Music Department and the Campion Academy teachers, that I write this article. Thank you for supporting Madeline and granting the CAO students a rare opportunity to enjoy music!
Article by Carey Jordan