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50 Years of Alumni: Michael Wu

College(s)/University attended:
Harvard College

What years were you in GTCYS?
2005-2010, graduated from Edina High School, Class of 2010

What skills or lessons did you learn in GTCYS that you still use today?
There are moments in a symphony orchestra when things just click and there is this glorious, rich sound that you could never imagine coming from an individual musician – I never experienced that until I was in GTCYS, and for me, that’s what ensemble music is all about. I learned to love this. Aside from this, I also learned about teamwork, about when to lead and when to step back into the background, and always to listen. These are certainly translatable skills.

Why do you think GTCYS is important for students now?
I think it’s important for music to be fun, and a huge part of that, especially in the middle school and high school years, is the social aspect of it. You need to be in a team and feel invested in the group. I think GTCYS is the perfect home for kids like me who loved music and sought a community for it. In a world where there are a lot of distractions, it’s important to have an activity that rewards dedication, time, and attention to detail.

How does music still play a part in your life?
Until recently, I was still performing in the chamber music setting and I still love this. Music was my first love, and I’m just so grateful that I can enjoy it. Even now that my schedule prevents me from dusting off my cello as frequently, I still love listening to great music and performances.

What is your favorite composer or piece of music?
Schubert

Whatโ€™s a fun fact about yourself?
I’ll never forget how inspired I was by the side-by-side rehearsals we had with the Minnesota Orchestra!

What do you hope to see from GTCYS in the next 50 years?
I’d love to see more and more diverse community representation within GTCYS. It’s trite but I do think music is such a universal language, and it’s so important for kids to meet, work with, and play alongside others with totally different backgrounds. This is how we bring people together and it is my hope for the future.

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