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Memories from Romona Merritt, viola (1994-1996)

“The Detroit Symphony Orchestra fellowship program was the single most¬† defining career decision that I could have ever made in my orchestral career. As a fellow from 1994-1996, I received personalized mentorship , inspiring professional guidance and instruction that has continued to guide me even today. ”

Romona Merritt
Alabama Symphony 1998-2015
Detroit Symphony Extra musician

Memories from Gina Calloway, viola (1992-1994)

I was a DSO Fellow immediately following graduation from Cincinnati Conservatory. I was very ‘green’ but excited. I remember the first rehearsal like it was yesterday. We were rehearsing Mozart Clarinet concerto with the Principal clarinetist at the time. I was mesmerized by the amazing musicianship of the soloist and the orchestra. It was an out of body experience. I remember thinking that every single one of these orchestra members could easily be a soloist in their own right. I was intimidated and inspired all at the same time. In addition to being great musicians they were great people as well and very welcoming to the “new kid” in the viola section. I took private lessons from 3 members of the viola section at various times during the fellowship and learned so much about auditions, work ethic, preparing for concerts and musicianship. The feedback from the mock auditions was invaluable and gave me the tools to navigate the audition process. I’ll also never forget playing in Carnegie Hall with DSO. That was one for the bucket list. My path after those two years led me to New World Symphony, lots of freelancing and ultimately to a career in music education, in which I have been very successful. My experience with the DSO Fellowship program gave me the skills and confidence to be a successful music educator and musician.

Memories from Douglas Cardwell, New Mexico Symphony (1994-1996)

“I had the privilege to carpool with then Principal Horn Gene Wade and Principal Timpanist Salvatore Rabbio. I think I learned more in the carpool then I did on stage at times. These very upstanding gentlemen were always striving to be the best and do the best on and off stage and were always a positive influence. Musicians can be very cynical at times and a valuable lesson learned was showing gratitude to your profession and continuing to take the positive/solution approach.”

  • Douglas Cardwell,¬†Principal Timpanist New Mexico Symphony Orchestra