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50 Years of Alumni: Tami Dokken

College(s)/University attended:
I graduated in 1987 from the University of Colorado – Boulder, with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism and a Bachelor of Arts in Art History. I graduated in 1994 from Mitchell Hamline School of Law (formerly William Michell College of Law).

What years were you in GTCYS?
I was in GTCYS as a student from 1976-1978. I was on the Board of Directors of GTCYS from 2010-2018 and President 2016-2017. I was also a GTCYS parent from 2014-2017.

What skills or lessons did you learn in GTCYS that you still use today?
GTCYS taught me so many skills and lessons! From studying and playing music in a dedicated, serious (but fun) environment some of what I learned is:
• teamwork
• the importance of listening
• the importance of practicing and being prepared
• how to break down large tasks into manageable pieces and then bring everything back together
• the value of working toward a goal like a performance
• how to acknowledge a mistake and accept constructive feedback

Why do you think GTCYS is important for students now?
GTCYS offers students the opportunity to interact in a group environment, as a team, without the distractions or pressures of electronics and social media. GTCYS models everything that music brings to a young person – the chance to listen to and learn how to play beautiful, life-changing, and timeless music; to learn a new language; to build skills and lessons (see my list above); to grow interpersonal skills by working with peers and adults

How does music still play a part in your life?
Music was a significant component to how we raised our kids. All three play instruments (one in GTCYS), all three sing, and all three were in musical theatre. Now out of college, none are professional musicians, but music served to shape who they are and who they have become. Music still plays a part in our lives as we play and sing when we are together. And my husband and I listen to music all the time. And we can’t wait to go back to concerts and festivals again!

What is your favorite composer or piece of music?
Oh gosh, I don’t think I can pick a favorite! And I love all music, especially the pieces that my kids have played and still on piano, violin, guitar, and ukulele.

What’s a fun fact about yourself?
I have an adventurous streak and love skiing, mountain biking, whitewater rafting, paragliding, and sky diving.

What do you hope to see from GTCYS in the next 50 years?
I hope that GTCYS continues to:
• Reach students who are already exposed to the opportunities of orchestral music and students who might not otherwise be exposed to the opportunities an organization like GTCYS can provide.
• Encourage, foster, and expect excellence in students.
• Nourish the entire student, musically and non-musically.

I would also love to see GTCYS with dedicated rehearsal space(s) and administrative offices, and a higher national profile among youth symphonies and general audiences.

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