When was your first encounter with music?
I was three years old when my older sister started piano lessons. I would listen to her practice, and then I would go up to the piano and pretend like I knew what I was doing.
When/How did you start playing your instrument?
Again, I have my older sister to thank. I went to her first band concert when I was 7. She played the flute, but I saw two students in her band playing the horn, and I thought it looked so cool that I turned to my mom and told her that I wanted to play that instrument when I was old enough to be in band. I had no idea what it sounded like; my 7-year-old brain was operating on looks alone!
When did you decide to make music your career?
My sophomore year of high school. I realized there was probably some meaning behind the fact that I classified my school schedule in terms of “classes before band” and “classes after band”.
What is your favorite memory of a performance?
I have two. The first is a performance with the James Madison University Brass Band back in 2007, when we came in 2nd place at the North American Brass Band Association Championships. We were a very tight-knit group of musicians, and our conductor was able to light a fire in our souls. I’ll never forget that performance, how we united to make the very best musical experience for everyone in the room. The second is the very first time I subbed in with a full-time orchestra, playing 7th horn on Mahler’s 6th symphony with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra. Mahler 6 is one of my “desert island” pieces, and I remember just looking around the stage the whole time in disbelief that this was my life!
What do you like to do outside of music?
I enjoy spending time with my dogs and cat, making and eating vegan food, yoga, running, creating physical challenges for myself (I’m currently about halfway through a 100-day pushup challenge), and finding interesting podcasts to pass the hours and hours and hours spent in Los Angeles traffic.
Please enjoy Rachel’s performance of Kerry Turner’s Low Horn Concerto
Recorded Live, 1 October 2017