McQueen High School Orchestra

Please meet Callista Alsasua!

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Callie 2Callista Alsasua (“Callie”) is a 17-year-old viola player.  She is sweet, smart, and beautiful and we love her too.  She went to Verdi Elementary school and Billinghurst Middle School.  She has been playing the viola for “7 years and counting“.
Callie started playing the viola in 6th grade.  “Verdi Elementary school required 6th graders to make a choice, band or orchestra, and of course I was immediately drawn to string instruments because my dad’s a great guitarist.”  When asked if she chose the viola or the viola chose her she said:
 It was a little bit of both. At first, I wanted to play the violin, but I remember Baker taking out each instrument in class and playing a short tune with it. He started with the violin and played a folk song, and I didn’t like it. But when he played a classical tune with the viola, I fell in love with the way it sounded.. it was beautiful and I am so happy with my decision, even though the viola jokes I deal with every day are brutal. 
We don’t make viola jokes Callie.
She thinks the hardest thing about being a musician is as follows:
The hardest thing about being a musician is knowing that no matter what, there is always someone out there who is better than you. It’s both frustrating, yet motivating, because seeing other people succeed makes me want to succeed as well. 
Part of what we love so much about all our musicians is how real they are.  They are honest about themselves, their fellow musicians and that is inspiring.
Callie says, “my favorite thing about orchestra is the fact that I am part of a large group of people committed to creating something beautiful with their instruments. The entire concept is wonderful, and it’s the best feeling when all of our hard work pays off. Also Mr. Baker’s no doubt, my favorite teacher.”   Her favorite orchestra memory is from the ASTA trip.  “My best orchestra memory is the night when we found out we received a score of 2 at the national level in ASTANOF. The banquet was so much fun and I loved how much we danced with Baker!!”  Mr. Baker?  Dancing?  What?
Callie’s favorite musician is Beyonce.   Right?  “My favorite musician is Beyonce because she empowers women and makes me feel more confident about myself.”  
Callie is an artist.  She thinks her art is nothing fancy but we disagree.   Her art is as beautiful as she is.
The most influential person in her life is her friend, fellow musician and senior Lauren DeCasper.  “Lauren DeCasper is one of the most influential people in my life. I see her, and she reminds me what it’s like to be an empowered, hard-working individual. She’s always been there for me and she has truly helped me become a stronger person, and she continues to do so every day.”  We love that our musicians are so inspired by each other.
Callie is college bound.  She wants to be a journalist but realizes that “life is full of surprises and this can change easily. I plan to keep my mind wide open about my future.”  She is planning to audition for the UNR orchestra and maybe the Reno Pops later in life.  Her goal for her senior year is to have fun and save enough money for the Orchestra’s trip to Europe.  She has three main goals for her future.  They are,”become financially stable, own a pug, and to be happy.”  Those are pretty good goals.
callie 1Callie would tell a struggling stings student not to give up.   “Don’t do it. Playing a string instrument is good for your brain and it builds character, not to mention it will open so many doors for you; new friends, new skills, and more scholarships. In the end, it helps you out more than you would ever imagine.”
Callie also wanted us to make sure we mention that she is cute, funny and smart.  “Oh yeah, not to mention, I’m also modest. Sorry, does that sound too familiar? I’ve been hearing it for four years now.”   
We see a theme developing here.   What is this modesty these children speak of?  And who is filling their minds with this self-confidence?
The one word Callie uses to describe herself is “diligent”.   Diligent.  That’s a good one.
Good luck Callie.  We can’t wait to hear you play your viola with all your heart this year.  That’s how you seem to do everything…with all your heart!


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