SPOTLIGHT ON EYSO ALUMNI VICTORIA SEWELL
Victoria Sewell played trumpet in EYSO from 2011-13 and now teaches K-8 general music and band in Kansas City, Missouri. Prior to this position, she taught music at an international school in Japan after earning her degree in music education from the University of Illinois. “During college I studied abroad in England, which I had always wanted to do,” she explains, and she loved it so much that she knew she wanted to find a teaching job abroad after graduation. She heard about a new international school opening up in Tokyo, and took the plunge—she applied, landed the job, and spent the next two years building a music program at the school. “I learned a lot about collaborating with people from different cultures,” she says.
Exploring new horizons through music has become a theme for Victoria, who traveled to Ireland and New York City with the Marching Illini during college (performing in the St. Patrick’s Day parade further inspired her to study in London for a semester). Joining EYSO and Philharmonia was a step outside of her comfort zone, too: her first orchestral trumpet solo was in Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique
, and “Mr. Anderson kept telling me to play louder! I never had to play like that before [in band].”
Victoria remembers that, at first, she was disappointed at not landing a spot in Youth Symphony right away. “I think it was healthy for me,” she now recalls, “because I really worked hard to audition for my senior year, and even made it into the Sterling Brass Quintet. I was really humbled and honored.” One performance in particular, Rainbow Body
by Christopher Theofanidis, stands out from her year in Youth Symphony, because the orchestra memorized the piece and explored adding movement to their performance. “We didn’t end up doing the choreography in the concert, but it was cool to be part of that discussion…[it was] very out-of-the-box, not just sitting there playing your part” onstage. That kind of creative thinking is now part of Victoria’s teaching—and we think her students are very lucky to have her!
Check out this video
to hear more from my interview with Victoria, and watch her EYSO story here
(from Stories Behind the Music 2020).
- Article written by Membership Coordinator and Music Librarian Emily Krasinski