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Canajoharie, NY ,

Photo submitted - Ruben McFarlane will travel
with the Empire State Youth Orchestra in 2012.

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CHS sophomore McFarlane to travel with youth orchestra

Thursday, October 20, 2011 - Updated: 7:34 AM

CANAJOHARIE — Canajoharie High School sophomore Ruben McFarlane landed a spot playing viola in the Empire State Youth Orchestra for the second straight year. But this opportunity comes with an added bonus: for two weeks in June, Ruben will travel with the ESYO on a tour of Asia.

The Youth Orchestra was invited to perform at the 2012 World Expo held in Yeosu, South Korea, but also expanded the trip to include concert halls in Beijing, Shanghai, and Seoul. They will also share their music with residents of Sorok Island (South Korea) who suffer from Hansen’s disease (leprosy) and have been isolated throughout their lives. Additionally, in Seoul, the orchestra will to entertain U.S. troops stationed at a base there.

Ruben, who’s been playing since fourth grade and re-auditioned for the ESYO in June, called the trip a “once in a lifetime opportunity.”

“This is unbelievable. It focused me so much more to make the orchestra this year. The first year I got in I was happy, but this year I was more motivated,” he said, continuing, “I’m so excited to go. One, I’ve never been there before and it will be cool seeing historical sites like the Great Wall and the Forbidden City. And, when we’re in South Korea and playing for the world expo, it will be amazing to meet people from different countries and play for a world-wide audience.”

“I think our conductor (for the ESYO) said it best when she told us that it’s great to be able to travel overseas with people you know who have the same skills,” he stated.

Canajoharie High School Principal David Barnes said the entire district is proud of Ruben and his success shines a light on the Canajoharie Central School’s strong music program.

“We’re happy that Ruben will travel with the orchestra and represent our community. He’s a very talented musician and this further showcases his dedication,” Barnes said.

During his time in school, Ruben has been involved in music teacher Leo Milman’s “Summer Strings,” and three years ago, he played in the ESYO String Ensemble. The ESYO has various ensembles, but Ruben landed a spot in the Youth Orchestra, reserved for technically sound players with the best musicality.

Ruben will perform in various ESYO concerts during the year including the “Melodies of Christmas.” Each year, the orchestra performs the popular holiday program that has raised $6 million for the Child Cancer Program at the Albany Medical Center.

Ruben says he’s learned a lot during the past two years and appreciates him time playing in the ESYO.

“To be in the youth orchestra is great. It shows you so much more about music. The intensity gets you more focused and musically inclined,” he said. “I’ve matured a lot more in the past two years and it’s opened more doors for me as I go through high school.”

     

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