My Time in the Symphony Orchestra

Maiah Deogracias


As a senior looking back on my Symphony Orchestra experience, I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to play with this group throughout my undergraduate studies. Being part of this talented and motivated group has left me with three main takeaways:

Symphony Orchestra has allowed me to create music in community: One thing that I feel is unique to our orchestra — and something very special to me — is how our orchestra features players from all majors and departments. I myself am not a music major, nor are many of the other players in our group. However, we are an interdisciplinary ensemble that brings together students from all areas of campus, united by a shared passion for wanting to make beautiful music together. 

Symphony Orchestra has offered me a consistent creative outlet: As a student studying communications, digital media arts, and humanities, I am able to sometimes, but not always, find ways to foster my innate desire for creativity through my required courses. Orchestra not only gives me time to be creative and focus on a craft outside of my major, but does so in a way that serves as an escape from the homework in my backpack and emails on my laptop. For the five or so hours each week I am in rehearsal, I am able to hone in on a skill independent of any of my other grades or assignments. 


Symphony Orchestra allowed me to continue a love of mine I was scared I’d lose in college: In high school, I originally strongly considered becoming a music major. I started piano lessons when I was five years old, played French horn (which I now play in orchestra) when I was in 5th grade, and added many other instruments along the way like bass guitar, steel drums, and mellophone. Deciding to not pursue music professionally was difficult for me. While I knew I wanted to ultimately focus my education on communication and the arts, music was a long-standing love of mine; it broke my heart thinking about stopping it after so many years of dedication and time in lessons, at concerts, and in rehearsals. Getting to continue playing in an orchestra at Valpo was definitely one positive influence towards my decision to ultimately attend the University. Not only was I in an ensemble, but I do feel like part of the music department and community. In addition to orchestra, I’m able to take private one-on-one lessons and have gotten to be part of other musical performances like Horn Christmas, a wind quintet, and studio recitals. 

Being in orchestra has pushed me as a musician, allowed me to be a more well-rounded student, and has been a way for me to continue maintaining my passion for music performance without being a major or minor. All in all, being in orchestra is just one of the many pieces of my Valpo experience I am thankful for.