What does the Seattle Symphony mean to me?

To me, the Seattle Symphony means playing for the hometown team.

For as long as I can remember, music has been a part of my life. I started piano when I was 4 and violin when I was 8. I had minor stints with the flute and french horn in my early teenage years, but I was never any good. I grew up in Bellevue, and the only times I went to the "city" were for the handful of musical expeditions my mom would take me and my brothers on, from violin lessons and youth symphony rehearsals to Seattle Symphony concerts. When I look around today, as a member of the Seattle Symphony, I feel incredibly proud and happy to stand among the musicians that had so much positive influence and guidance for me when I was on my path to figuring out my future as a musician. I remember being challenged and coached by members of the Seattle Symphony during Seattle Youth Symphony sectionals. They taught me not only the ins and outs of orchestral playing, but also self discipline and responsibility. I am thankful for the great musicians of the symphony for all the memorable concerts I attended while growing up, and even more grateful for the wonderful teachers that taught and lead me to the next step of my musical career. I spent six great years in NYC at The Juilliard School where I received my Bachelor and Master of Music, and one of my fondest memories was during the third year of my undergrad, I went to watch my hometown symphony play at Carnegie Hall. A group of my friends and I bought student tickets and sat in the seventh row for the concert. I remember everything about the concert down to what I was wearing that day. I remember thinking that I too wanted to do that one day.

I moved back to Seattle 4 years ago to join the Seattle Symphony as a member of the second violin section. The only words I could muster after being told I had won the audition were "shut up". It was a dream come true and I will forever remember that moment. Since then, I have embraced and learned about the "city" across the lake. I have explored the wonderful restaurants of Seattle and rooted unwaveringly for the Seahawks. There is nothing like the feeling of rooting for the hometown team.

So on concert days, I put on my Seattle Symphony jersey (concert black), and I join my colleagues on stage at Benaroya Hall. Maybe the point of the evening is not to win the game, but hopefully the end result brings people to their feet and wanting to come back for more to cheer on and enjoy their hometown symphony. Under the shining lights, I look around and could not be happier to share the stage with people that started as my teachers and mentors, became my colleagues, and are now my great friends.

Mae Lin
Seattle Symphony, second violinist
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