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50 Years of Alumni: Miri Villerius

College(s)/University attended:
University of Minnesota, Twin-Cities (HS/PSEO), Lawrence University (current)

What years were you in GTCYS?
I was in GTCYS for two seasons from 2017-19 and graduated in 2019.

Why do you think GTCYS is important for students now?
I think that the opportunity to see how so many individual parts of an ensemble can come together in harmony, making music to be enjoyed by an audience and building community between us as music-makers, is invaluable. Conventional wisdom often tells us the false dichotomy that you either do alienating work to produce something useful and desirable, or you do enjoyable work that is frivolous. In reality, we can and should be able to do things that are both useful and fulfilling!

How does music still play a part in your life?
While I don’t play in any organized way much anymore, going to different sorts of jams or just noodling on my own are so important to me. At a jam, I feel such a profound sense of place and belonging if I give up my anxieties, while when I noodle, I know that I can go everywhere and anywhere that my heart wants regardless of how I feel!

What is your favorite composer or piece of music?
I’m not a fan of choosing favorites, but the composer John Zorn has definitely had the most profound influence on me in multiple aspects of my life.

What’s a fun fact about yourself?
Sometimes I make Wikipedia articles for fun. Check out ‘Amsterdam Klezmer Band’ and ‘Gabriella Ghermandi’ to see some of my best work!

What do you hope to see from GTCYS in the next 50 years?
I’d love to see GTCYS do even more community outreach!

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