Behind the Instrument: Knowing your fellows

My journey with the Civic Fellows this year has simply been incredible. Some of our projects seemed impossible when we started them, but we always came together and accomplished our goals. The fellows have come a long way and we’ve had an astonishing season.

We have spent a lot of time together this season and I wanted to know what we’ve learned about each other.  So, I asked each fellow to answer a question as well as describe their colleagues using a few words. I have complied the responses below.

Ladies and Gentlemen, here are your 2016/17 Civic Orchestra of Chicago Fellows:



Patrick Tsuji

In a few words:

Black cap + Sass = Fashionista
Cool
Impressive
Sassy
Hip
Kiki
Yoga!
Sweet!
Cooked Me 20 Pieces of Bacon
New York Boy

Q: What would you do if you had one week off from playing music? You can do anything, for a week. But nothing related to music.

A: Practice more yoga and do laundry.


Kristin Perry

In a few words:

Stupendous + Curls = High School and Grad School Mate
Sagacious
A Secret Boss
Quirky
Stalker…followed me to three schools/programs (j/k)
Smiles
Curls
Most Wonderful “Hero”
Curls 

Q: What would you do if you have one week off from playing music? You can do anything, for a week. But nothing related to music.

A: I would binge-read the entire Harry Potter series. I would also get out and actually explore the city of Chicago, since I haven’t done that since moving here.


Gordon Daole-Wellman

In a few words:

Coffee + Massachusetts = Walking Bass Clarinetist
Urbane
Classy
Chill-Tired
Bass Clarinet
Sleepy
Unenthused Sarcasm (secretly amused)
Jokes!
Drank with Me On The Chicago Boat Tour
Coffee Cup

Q: What would you do if you have one week off from playing music? You can do anything, for a week. But nothing related to music.

A: I’d probably read a lot and catch up on sleep.


Midori Samson

In a few words:

Energy + Community = Fellow’s Star
Exuberant – Unstoppable Juggernaut I would follow into a battle
This is Too Much to Ask
Inspirational
Bubbly
Whisky And A Book At A Dive Bar
She Is Going to Make This World A Better Place
A Mystery

Q: What was the best moment as a fellow?

A: The day I walked into our first day of work, I knew I was walking into a room with my 13 best friends for the year. That has been true since then. Every day with these guys is a gift.


Corin Droullard

In a few words:

Chill + “Sick” = Handsome
Chill
Million Dollar Smiles
Brother
Goofy
Friendly
Poetry Night
Chillax
Always Finishes My Unwanted Food
Supportive and Enthusiastic

Q: What would you do if you have one week off from playing music? You can do anything, for a week. But nothing related to music.

A: I would go to Washington with my girlfriend and hike the pacific crest trail for a week.


Matt Baker

In a few words:

Beard + Beast Trumpet = Cat Lady
Workhorse
Big Dawg
Professional
Confident
Kittens
Always Says He is Old But He Is Not
Perfect Smile
Beard

Q: What would you do if you have one week off from playing music? You can do anything, for a week. But nothing related to music.

A: A week away from music would be a great excuse to get out of town and enjoy the freedom to travel without lugging around my horns or worrying about finding time to practice.  However, if I were to spend a week away from music here in Chicago I would probably finish the Game of Thrones series and fix up the house with some cleaning and a couple home improvement projects I’ve been putting off.


Alex Schwarz

In a few words:

Coolest + Cutest = The Most Kawaii-est
Passionate
Talented
Innocent
People-Person
Fellows Retreat
Twitter
Hair on Fleek
The Boy

Q: What is your favorite thing to do in Chicago?

A: Watch the Blackhawks with some friends and grab a drink or go bowling.


Joe Dubas

In a few words:

Tallest + Nice Brother = Beast Trombonist
Ambitious
The Volunteer
Gucci
Driven
Really Interesting Mix of Bro + Always Practicing
Hard Worker
Gave Me His Last Bite of Chick Fil-A
Lip Balm

Q: What was the best moment as a fellow?

A: Best moment was performing the DQ presentation at Mary Lyon elementary school, the one where they all asked us for autographs.


Soo-Young Kim

In a few words:

Compassionate + Nuna = Soju Drinker
Affable
Outgoing
Focused
DIY Sheep Head Wrap
Kind
Hard-Working and Kind
Hello Kitty
Virtuoso Harpsichordist
First To Greet Me At Orientation, Kind

Q: What would you do if you have one week off from playing music? You can do anything, for a week. But nothing related to music.

A: I would love to cook a lot and travel!


Tara Lynn Ramsey

In a few words:

Stunning + The Concertmaster = Loveliest Person
Poised
Does It All
Fellows’ Mom
Classy
Role Model
Makes Me Wish I Played Violin
Upright

Q: What would you do if you have one week off from playing music? You can do anything, for a week. But nothing related to music.

A: I would cook a whole bunch of delicious food every day, eat it in the evenings with friends, spend a lot of time outside, go to concerts and shows and bookstores, read, work in a vegetable garden, and hang out with some children and dogs. Maybe take a carpentry class with Kip. Or buy some chickens on sale together at Whole Foods.



Maria Arrua

In a few words:

Marvelous + Sweetest = Not Fair!
Amiable
Friendliest Ever
Grounded
Sweet
Caring
Sweetest
Vori Vori
Sweet

Q: What is your favorite thing to do in Chicago?

A: There is no one thing: lake, river, restaurants, coffee places, and concerts. They are all amazing.


Kip Riecken

In a few words:

Script + Oboist = The Lead Fellow
Diligent
The Brain
Proper
Perfectionist
Thoughtful
I would describe Kip using Kip’s signature eyebrow raise
Chocolate
Sancho
Partner

Q: What would you do if you have one week off from playing music? You can do anything, for a week. But nothing related to music.

A: I would probably cook quite a bit, run, and read. And explore Chicago. I want to take a boat ride on Lake Michigan.


Kenji Sasaki

In a few words:

Suave
Alarmingly Charming
Feelings-y music
Don Quixote
Sensei
So many words I want to use to describe Kenji but in a nutshell: The Best
Drinks!
Soccer Player
Shoe Model
Blunt
Selfless

Q: What is your favorite thing to do in Chicago?

A: Go to Toyota Park to watch the Chicago Fire game and Bastian Schweinsteiger.


Evan Hillis

In a few words:

California + Beauty =  Jazzy
California
Mr. Break-the-Ice
Earnest
Silly
Bizarre
My Train Buddy
Mandarins
Cried in His Arms on New Year’s Eve
Don Quixote 

Q: What was the best moment as a fellow?

A: Performing the 3rd Brandenburg Concerto with Yo-Yo Ma during the Bach Marathon was wonderful. He brings such ebullience to all of his performing and it was great to share the stage with him.


By Kenji Sasaki