It seems yesterday although it was last year (2013) at this time that I was in the critical process of filling out and completing the many applications for entrance into a Liberal Arts music college in the United States. This pivotal process in my life which would determine my access into an esteemed educational community took many months of preparation. From sending the applications to a number of colleges to anxiously waiting for their reply, applying to the right colleges became an integral part of my life. Now as the fall 2013 academic semester has concluded, and we are growing ready to embark into the spring 2014 academic semester, I would like to express my eternal thanks to Monmouth College, since it has been the perfect choice for my musical and academic studies.
Although I am immensely grateful for my experience thus far at Monmouth College, becoming used to this new stage and phase in my life was difficult, but I am proud that I was able to surpass through its obstacles, and achieve my goals. From the continuous hours of studying for my academic classes, to the countless days of practicing on the violin, even well into the night and without sleep, I taught myself the significance of commitment and dedication.
Performing in the Dahl Chapel — the auditorium of musical activities of Monmouth College — and seeing the excited faces of the audience, I completely would forget any feelings of stress and exhaustion, and would feel the awesome taste of success. Furthermore, being the Concertmaster of the Monmouth Chamber Orchestra has simultaneously been a considerable but astonishing responsibility as it has taught me to become a superior example of musicianship and leadership. We had three concerts this semester, and I am so satisfied to have performed solo Hungarian Rhapsody, as well as Handel’s Concerto Grosso with the Oboe. Last but not least, to Ms. Carolyn Suda, the director of the Momouth Chamber Orchestra, to whom I forevermore owe the greatest thanks and appreciation, and who believed in me and in my playing, and bestowed upon me a principal position at the Orchestra.
I also had the honor of visiting IIT , and personally meeting some of the Syrian students (Marcelle Hanna, Zeina and Farah Abdul Samd, Toufik Simo, George Batah, Salam and Mouna Abdulrazak) , who impressed me by their generous hospitality, and who allowed me to spend the night with them, as well as perform for them. IIT is with no doubt an excellent university, and I am so grateful to Gerald Doyle who provided me with the opportunity to visit IIT. I am looking forward to arranging a visit for the Syrian students of IIT in order to welcome them to Monmouth College.
I very much hope that all the Syrian students are doing very well in their new colleges, and are keeping up the hard work so that we can continue to represent our country very well in all fields, and so that Syria will be proud of us always.
Future projects of mine include performing with the Galesburg Symphony Orchestra, as well as working on my solo concert, which will premiere in the beginning of May 2014.
* Mariela, a regular guest contributor, is an advanced transfer student at Monmouth College where she is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in music | expected graduation in spring 2015. Mariela previously studied at Aleppo University.