As we reported earlier, Virtuosi of Houston – a youth chamber orchestra comprised of some of Houston’s best and brightest musicians – had the incredible opportunity to perform at several events leading up to the 45th Presidential Inauguration of Donald Trump. We reached out to the organizers of Virtuosi of Houston last week to ask how the performances went. Here is their reply from Mr. Steve Casas, Events Manager:
This trip was a fantastic opportunity for Virtuosi of Houston and 13 of our young musicians. The entire cost of the trip (air fare, hotel accommodations, transportation and meals) was underwritten by Virtuosi board member, Monzer Hourani and Virtuosi supporters Dr. Garrett and Mandie Peel and Ms. Glenda Perryman. Also, the Cavender’s Boot City on the NW freeway donated black felt cowboy hats to all of the musicians.
We were in Washington DC from Wednesday, January 18th to Saturday, January 20th. Our schedule was jammed packed with activities over those 4 days with very little down time.
Wednesday, January 18th – Congressional Dinner
We arrived at our hotel in DC, the Washington Hilton, around noon on Wednesday, January 18th and then had to depart for the Hay-Adams hotel at 3PM to warm up for our first performance at a Congressional Dinner which honored Senators Orrin Hatch, Marco Rubio, John Cornyn, Representative Tom Price, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus and several others.
Virtuosi was the entertainment for the entire evening. We had two of our oboe musicians and two pianist perform at the cocktail reception and an 11 piece string ensemble performed during the entire dinner which was hosted on the top floor of the Hay-Adams Hotel with spectacular views of the White House and Washington Monument. Our young musicians were a big hit with the dinner guests and our young musicians were in awe at all the high profile guests at this event.
Thursday, January 19th – Black Tie and Boots Ball
Thursday morning we had some free time to so a little sight seeing. It was voted on by the musicians to go see the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. Of course many of the streets were already blocked off around the Capitol and the National Mall so our shuttle bus had to drop us off a little way away from the area but we enjoyed being able to walk the area. After the Smithsonian we took an walk along the National Mall to witness some of the final preparation going on to get ready for the Inauguration the following day.
Thursday afternoon we again had to depart our hotel around 3 PM to travel to the Gaylord Resort and Convention Center to warm up for our performance at the Texas Society’s Black Tie and Boots Inauguration Ball. This event was attended by over 11,000 people and took over the entire Gaylord Resort complex and its four ballrooms.
Numerous performers were there for this event and we were very grateful for being assigned to the VIP ballroom area to perform from 6:30 to 8:00 PM. Our young musicians looked great as they wore cowboy hats and boots to accompany their usual concert attire of tuxedos and black dresses. They also got to meet several special guests at this event, like Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Senator Ted Cruz, Miss Texas, and Dominique Sachse from KPRC Channel 2 News.
Friday, January 20th – Inauguration Day
Friday morning we woke up early to head out to National Mall to the inauguration. We were extremely fortunate to be given special invitation tickets to view the Inauguration from one of the standing room view sections in front of the capitol. The entire week we heard that the forecast for Inauguration day would be 100% chance of rain. Fortunately the weather forecast was wrong and it our slightly drizzled for about 20 minutes. Our young musicians were very proud to be able to witness such an historic moment first hand.
After the inauguration ceremony we were invited to attend a private luncheon honor Congressman Randy Weber at the Capitol Hill Club (The National Republican Club of Capitol Hill). At this luncheon we were invited simply as guests and did not perform.
“The overwhelming positive response our musicians had received at the other two events lead the host to ask us to play for the entire evening.”
Later Friday evening we had another performance at a private black tie dinner at the Trump International Hotel. It was at this event that our young musicians really earned this trip. They were originally request to play for just an hour but the overwhelming positive response our musicians had received at the other two events lead the host to ask us to play for the entire evening. Our musicians began warm up around 6 PM. They started to perform for the dinner guest at 7 PM and didn’t stop playing until 11 PM. The guest were blown away with our musician’s performance.
That evening the Trump Hotel was hosting a Presidential Inauguration party in the main lobby of the hotel. Once our musicians were done performing they got to join other guest for this huge party and witness a giant red, white and blue balloon drop at midnight.
Saturday, January 21st – Final Day in DC
This was our final morning and afternoon in DC. After breakfast we hired a private Washington DC tours company to take all of us to see the major DC monuments, Arlington National Cemetery, and the Pentagon. After this tour we head back to our hotel to grab our luggage and departed for the airport.
This trip was an extraordinary experience for all of us. Most of our young musicians had never been to Washington DC and one of our students had never been on an airplane. The special VIP insider access we received and the people we got to meet was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for all of us. We couldn’t be more grateful to all of the individuals that helped make this whole experience possible.
The Virtuosi of Houston is a Premier Young Artists Chamber Orchestra. Its goal is the education and development of young talented musicians into true professionals, who would be sought after by the premier Conservatories and who would pursue a musical career as performers, educators and advocates of classical music. Virtuosi provides the opportunity for every talented youth in the Houston area, regardless of race, religion, or income to receive the best education in the field of classical music so that they are competitive in their objective to be music professionals.
As a chamber orchestra, with only 50-60 musicians, Virtuosi of Houston makes it possible for each musician to experience increased confidence, leadership, responsibility and performance skills to move their own musical ability to a higher level.