When asked, “What has playing orchestral music meant to me?” I am reminded of my role in the Homer Council of the Arts Shakespeare Play: Twelfth Night. In the play, Duke Orsino says, “ If music be the food of love, play on…” One interpretation of this line is that he was hoping that excess music might relieve him from his obsession with love. Playing in the orchestra and talking lessons from Lisa Shallock was relief from my obsession with learning. I have a very inquisitive mind and music soothes my thoughts. It was a time in my week where I gained perspective on the world. I could let my mind relax and I could take on a new venue of learning. I liked the relaxing breath that I could take when I played my cello with the accompaniment of others. It was a precious time in my week. I learned to appreciate string instruments and the beauty of a string orchestra. I realized as soon as I picked up my cello that it would be my friend and companion for life. It was with pleasure that I played it in the symphony since fourth grade. I appreciate the friendships that came from playing in the orchestra and the many mentors who have encouraged me. I am expanding my cello repertoire outside of orchestral music but I know that the Homer Youth Symphony Orchestra has given me a gift for life.