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OAYO Alumnae Living Childhood Dream

If you asked Emily McIvor as a child what she wanted to be when she grew up, she would have confidently said, “Musician.” Years later, Emily is staying true to her younger-self and blooming as a professional musician.


An Omaha Area Youth Orchestras Youth Symphony alumnae, Emily performed with the orchestra from 2001 to 2003 during her junior and senior years in high school. Fast forward 15 years from her OAYO graduation, Emily has earned three degrees in music, as well as become an inspiration and mentor to young musicians in the greater Omaha-area. It’s a mystery how she has found the time to plan her wedding!


In her years performing with OAYO, Emily says one of her fondest memories with the orchestra was playing “Pines of Rome” for the side-by-side concert with the Omaha Symphony.


“I got to play the big clarinet solo in the third movement and the professional players were very complimentary and encouraging,” Emily remembers. “The piece is still one of my favorites to hear and perform.”


Not only did Emily have an opportunity to captivate audiences through solos with OAYO, she also “got to learn and play with other musicians from around the Omaha area” and gained the unique experience of making friends from all different schools, who all shared common interests.


“We learned interesting, challenging music and I discovered I enjoyed playing in an orchestra,” she says. “I made it a point to do as much of it as I could in college. And, playing in OAYO helped solidify my desire to pursue music as a career.”


Like any passionate individual, Emily has a favorite in her field. However, if you asked her multiple times, she says she would probably give a different answer each time. For the time being, if Emily was given the opportunity to dine with any composer, living or dead, it would be Johannes Brahms.


“He wrote such beautiful melodies and to me, his music is often achingly sad and so poignant,” Emily says. “But, also deep and beautiful and thought-provoking.”


Unfortunately, Brahms died in 1897, but the chance to pick his brain about “some of his contemporaries” would be a dream for Emily.


“Brahms wrote several very important pieces for clarinet near the end of his life,” she says. “I would ask him what he liked about Richard Muhlfeld’s sound and playing style that inspired him so.”


As a clarinet teacher, music theory instructor, freelance performer and successful businesswoman of a “thriving” clarinet studio, Emily is doing her younger-self justice and living her dream.

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