Heights musicians play on European tour
Heights High seniors Mary O'Keefe and Shoshana Klein (L-R) take a break from practicing and performing as they visit the St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague, Czech Republic. [Photo Ditte Wolin]
Cleveland Heights High School senior oboe players Shoshana Klein and Mary O’Keefe were part of the European tour with the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra (COYO), June 13–21.
Around 75 members, drawn from 40 communities in northern Ohio and western Pennsylvania, went on the tour. The group performed in Prague, Vienna and Salzburg, with a program that included works by Johannes Brahms, Richard Wagner, Antonin Dvorak and Edward Elgar.
Both musicians returned with fabulous memories. “Playing Dvorak in the Dvorak Hall in Prague—that’s exciting,” said Klein.
The musicians also did some sightseeing, but Klein and O’Keefe said the performances were the best part.
Klein added, “Performing and practicing on a different schedules, in the varied acoustics of different halls—and with jet lag—was a definite challenge.”
James Feddeck, Cleveland Orchestra assistant conductor and COYO music director, helped the students adjust to the circumstances.
“He doesn’t say bad things—ever. He just fixes what’s wrong,” Klein said. Both girls thought that the experience helped them become more focused and flexible.
“The whole experience was so inspiring,” said O’Keefe. “We all became closer, learning from each other and growing as musicians.”
Both girls said the tremendous audience response and a surprise visit from Cleveland Orchestra conductor Franz Welser-Möst were thrills they will always remember.
The girls play oboe in the Heights High Symphonic Winds and Symphony, the school marching band and chamber groups.
Klein started playing the clarinet in 4th grade at Canterbury Elementary School. She switched to oboe in the 6th grade. She has also played with the Cleveland Youth Wind Symphony and the Contemporary Youth Orchestra. She will explore music therapy as she applies to colleges this fall.
O’Keefe began studying the oboe at Noble Elementary School. She plans to audition for several music institutes this year as she pursues her goal of playing in a professional orchestra.
Kim Conklin, a Cleveland Heights resident, has children in Cleveland Heights schools, and is an assistant in the High School instrumental music department.