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"The maestro is the one who lays the foundation for learning, who teaches the principles and the values: the curiosity about the world, the confidence that education eventually leads to freedom, the courage to strive for something higher than just satisfying your appetite, the ideals that last throughout your life. That is the maestro."

- - Roger Nierenberg

from "MAESTRO: A Surprising Story about Leading by Listening"

''I'm more drawn to searching music that suggests the kind of transcendental values that words cannot express. Through music we can sometimes travel to that part of the human soul where we are closest to the finest aspects of ourselves, closest to God. And there's where I most love to dwell.''

 - - Herbert Blomstedt

in the New York Times; March 9, 1986

"Behind the notes lies the infinite . . . God . . . and we are too small in front of God."

 - - Riccardo Muti

acceptance speech for Musical America's Musician of the Year Award


“A life is not important, except in the impact it has on others' lives.”

 - - Jackie Robinson


"This is the beginning of a new day.
I can waste it or use it for good.
What I do today is important because I am exchanging a day of my life for it.
When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever,
leaving in its place something I have traded for it.
I want it to be a gain, not a loss;
good, not evil;
success, not failure —
in order that I shall not regret the price I paid for it today."

 - - author unknown

We Make Music


THEN . . .

We saw a void

We came together

We shared a love                                                       

. . . We made Music


We sight-read

We planned

We rehearsed                                                            

. . . We made Music


We practiced

We explored

We performed                                                            

. . . We made Music


We trusted

We sought

We challenged                                                            

. . . We made Music


We conquered

We invited guests

We grew                                                                   

. . . We made Music


We embraced Beethoven

We completed Brahms

We explored Dvorak                                                    

. . . We made Music


NOW . . .

I must move on

I must explore anew

I must continue my journey                                         

. . . I will make Music


I will miss

I will remember

I will cherish                                                             

. . . I will make Music


You must continue

You must grow

You must explore                                                        

. . . You will make Music


You will miss

You will make new memories

You will thrive                                                           

. . . You will make Music

BEYOND . . .

We are inseparable

We are friends, family, colleagues                                 

We are the Willamette Valley Symphony / Salem Philharmonia

. . . We will make Music

- - Sean Paul Mills

May 27, 2018

I Believe That Music . . . 

based upon “The Creed of the Collegiate Chorale” by Robert Shaw


. . . is not a luxury but rather a necessity. Music is a necessity in this world of political, economic, and personal disintegrations not simply because it is “therapeutic” nor because it is the “universal language”, but because it is the persistent focus of man’s intelligence, aspiration, and goodwill.

. . . is always a community enterprise. Its creation is an attempt to communicate, and every performance is an effort to unite the hearts, souls, spirits, and minds of men, even those of different generations.

. . . is one of many forms of art. Painting, sculpture, dance, photograph, symphony orchestra, poetry, and plays are not competitive “attractions” for the public fashion in patronage, but are instruments of a single craft with identical cultural responsibilities.

. . . is peculiarly both a “doer’s” art and a “listener’s” art. Its benefits are in direct proportion to active participation either as a donor or recipient.

. . . is the art and craft of “revealing”, not “interpreting.” It is the performer’s business to get out of the way of music. 

And I believe that the musical instrument and the ensembles in which it participates should assume a position of respect and musical responsibility commensurate with the distinction of its literature and comparable to that of any other professional.



An Affirmation

adapted from Howard Thurman


I affirm my faith in the little graces of life; the urgency of growth, the strength of laughter, the vitality of friendship.

I affirm my confidence in the dignity of all persons; their fortitude in despair, their strength in weakness, their love in hatred.

I affirm my joy in the experience of living; the fragrance of nostalgia, the scattered moments of delight, the exhilaration of danger.

I affirm my need for others; the offerings of faith, the gifts of variety, the quality of difference.

I affirm my hunger for striving each day to become a better person; the desire for fulfillment, the ache for understanding, the sense of peace.




by Horatio Edens


Practice your scales, arpeggios, and etudes.

Practice your music to gain insight into someone’s greater intellect.

Practice heightened concentration and coordination.

Practice keeping the inner voice that directs the outer person.

Practice refreshing your sensitivity with sensibility.

Practice renewing the daily fight for the possibility of perfection.

Practice challenging yourself in both small and large matters.

Practice shrinking yourself, to realize the hugeness of faith.

Practice laughing.

Practice loving.

Practice forgiveness.

Practice living.



Favorite quotes . . .


"Joy comes from adventure today. Time to shake the world up!"

 - - Anonymous (fortune cookie)


"Mi violonchelo es mi amigo más viejo y más querido."

- - Pablo Casals


". . . exploring, finding the depth of your own soul and other people's, that's what music is all about."

- - Yo-Yo Ma


"One ought to be nervous before a performance to some degree, not because of fear of the unknown but because of one's respect for the significance of artistic contribution."

- - Janos Starker

"Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive."

- - Gil Bailie

"Education is not to make anything of anybody but simply to open the minds - to go from cocksure ignorance to thoughtful uncertainty."

- - Max Rudolf  "The Grammar of Conducting"

"Education in music is most sovereign, because more than anything else, rhythm and harmony find their way into the secret places of the heart."

- - Plato

"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind."

 - - Dr. Seuss


Work like you don't need money,

Love like you've never been hurt,

Sing as if no one can hear you, and

Dance like no one's watching.

Live in the moment and Let the moment take your breath away!

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