The ceremony opened with encouraging words and anecdotes related to our class from NEC president Tony Woodcock. Then, each Fellow had the floor for a few minutes. Everyone spoke; some used media; some played music. I bet you can guess my choice.
I did, of course, say a few words before I played my horn. I spoke of the theme of firsts, and the number 1, in my young Sistema life. I had one year with nine amazing fellows. I experienced my first trip to a Latin American country. I taught music lessons with a language barrier for the first time. I'm about to move to Lexington to help start Kentucky's first El Sistema-inspired program.
Following this theme, and furthering my exploration of musical relevance, my short commencement performance was another first: I played bluegrass music on my horn.
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Rachel Hockenberry, Sistema Fellow '13