Lindsey Wiehl is a second year Doctor of Arts candidate from New York. This summer, Lindsey kept herself busy and attended two music festivals: the 2-week long Opera Maya International Summer Music Festival, based in Valladolid, Mexico and the 8-week long Bay View Summer Music Institute, located in Bay View, Michigan. 

The Opera Maya festival was a two-week festival centered around two different genres of music: Opera music and Mexican music. While I love opera and playing the great, characteristic bassoon parts in the opera scenes, this festival also was important to me because it had a huge impact on my view of what it means to be a musician. Our orchestra toured different towns and cities around the Yucatan peninsula every night and spread the gift of live orchestral and opera music to regions of the country that really didn’t have the opportunity to hear classical music. The appreciation and gratitude for high quality music that the people of the Yucatan have is awe-inspiring and truly beautiful.

The Bay View Festival was very chamber-music oriented. I auditioned into a wind quintet of similar-level graduate musicians and performed a different quintet work each week. Through this immersion of quintet literature, I practiced and learned over a dozen quintet works that I had never worked on previously and might not have had the time to learn during an academic semester. I feel much more confident in my knowledge of quintet literature and the ability to perform it. We also performed Mozart’s opera Marriage of Figaro, which is one of my favorites, and had classes on how to become more involved in the community through music and reach a wider audience.

Both festivals also offered an important non-musical component of being immersed into a group of like-minded musicians. At Opera Maya I met many similarly-aged “go-getter” musicians that are very active in the music world and in their communities. Several of those musicians have become life-long friends that push me to be a better person and musician. A highlight of Opera Maya was performing at so many beautiful locations in what felt like a summer-paradise.

At Bay View,  I worked closely with Jill Marderness, bassoonist of the Arizona Opera Company for eight weeks. She gave me weekly lessons and told me endless stories about life in the opera, orchestral, and quintet worlds and encouraged me throughout the festival. Also, due to the nature of an eight-week festival, Bay View provided me the opportunity to meet residents in the Bay View community. The folks that live there are from all over the United States, and only live there during the summer months. The community is full of music-lovers and music supporters, including my sponsor, Fernanda, and her family, who helped fund my stay at Bay View and became like a summer family for me. My quintet even performed a well-attended concert at her cottage home, which was open to the community.  I’m very thankful for my time at both of these very enriching festivals and highly encourage other musicians to get their feet wet in these immersive opportunities!

I’m very grateful for Ball State University and the School of Music for helping me take advantage of these amazing festivals by providing financial support through the Aspire Grant and the School of Music Travel Grant. -Lindsey Wiehl