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Trip drives home realization of music as universal language

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One stop on the West Virginia Youth Symphony European tour was Vienna, Austria, where the young musicians reveled in exploring the city where Mozart, Beethoven, Haydn and others found inspiration. Throughout the trip, students experienced firsthand the universal power of music and its transcendence of language barriers.
By Aryana MisaghiGeorge Washington High SchoolCHARLESTON, W.Va. -- For more than six months, 54 of my peers and I anticipated what was sure to be the trip of a lifetime: four countries in 10 days, with three performances in some of the biggest music centers in the world. The sights were outstanding, the company was marvelous and the experiences we had were one-of-a-kind.One thing in particular that stuck with me was the all-embracing power of music that tied the whole trip together.
The most remarkable thing about being surrounded by different cultures (complete with different languages, cuisine, traditions, dances and social lives) was finding ways to communicate without using words. Though equipped with survival phrase handouts and extremely qualified tour guides, we found ourselves stuck in situations where we could not sufficiently express ourselves.One of the unique elements of the tour was the opportunity to stay with a family during our time in Slovakia. Invariably, the kindness and hospitality provided was overwhelming; no words could express how grateful we were for their warmth.It was clear at our concert, however, how delighted we were to be there. Every note carried energy that radiated throughout the hall; the enthusiasm in the music said everything we were unable to with words. The feedback from the audience, including our families of three days, let us know that they understood. They got it.Music truly is the universal language, and although that is what I have always been told, I had to experience it to believe it.See more photos from the WVYS European tour at
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