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World's Largest Orchestra Essay Contest


On April 19, 1998, Anna MacPherson, a violin student from Attleboro, Ma., was one of 3,000 musicians playing to break the Guiness Book of World Records by becoming the World’s Largest Orchestra. How did all this come true for Anna? Well, she entered a contest that the MRP sponsored to send 1 musician, all expenses paid, for the weekend in Pittsburgh, Pa. for this huge event. Anna was one of several applicants that wrote a 150 word essay on,


Anna MacPherson - Essay Contest Winner


“Who or what influenced you to start playing an instrument and what motivates you to continue playing today?”



Along with the essay, the musicians had to submit an audiotape of them reading their essay, and a 5 minute performance on their instrument. Musical ability filled the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s requirement that the musicians be at a level of 9th grade and above. The winner also was eligible to attend Master Classes at Heinz Hall by Pgh Symphony members that weekend.
Hands down, Anna’s performance of Beethoven’s Romance in F Major, Monti’s Csardas and written essay stood out among the rest. Here is Anna’s essay.



“Who or what influenced you to start playing an instrument and what motivates you to continue playing today?”
~by Anna MacPherson


    I was in first grade when I first heard Beethoven’s Violin Concerto, playing on the radio in our family car. I had no idea what piece it was then, but by the time the violinist had reached that final movement, I was positive that this was what I wanted to do. In my wild and insanely optimistic seven-year-old mind, I could just picture myself on a stage, my fingers flying over those final sixteenth note runs, with the audience enthusiastically applauding in the background. Sure enough, on the next birthday I received a three quartered sized violin. Delighted, I gingerly opened the case, grabbed up the violin from its velvet-lined home, and confidently placed it under my chin. Preparing myself for the most glorious string sound ever produced, I drew the bow across the strings. SCREEEEEEEEEECH. My dream of being a world renowned violinist...shattered.
    I got past my initial devastation, though, and eight years later I am still playing. At the high school I attend there is virtually every extracurricular activity ever imagined... except an orchestra. So I became involved in many other things--but none of them brings the joy to me or others that music does. And I suppose that’s what keeps me motivated. I enjoy practicing hard and then sharing my music--whether it’s by performing with my youth orchestra, string quartet, or school band. And though I’m not on the stage at Carnegie Hall playing Beethoven, it’s all been worth it.


As you can see from Anna’s WLO picture journal of the event, she and her father had a great time, and her musical experience was “priceless.”

The WLO Event was sponsored by the MENC, the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Pittsburgh Hilton and Towers and in association with Kaufmann’s.


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