In the spring of 1994, fraternal bonds overcame collegiate ones, and I reluctantly advised my brother that as an aspiring classical musician, his performance opportunities would be better at Yale than at Princeton. He listened, chose the former over the latter, and, regretfully, proved me correct, conducting the Berkeley College orchestra for two years in addition to being the Yale Symphony’s tubist. I therefore was pleased, to put it mildly, to read about the proliferation of performance opportunities that Princeton has witnessed over the last two decades or so (Campus Notebook, Jan. 18).
It was also reassuring to hear that Michael Pratt’s fundamental — and under the circumstances, fundamentally correct — approach hasn’t changed over the years: He’s still pushing groups of students who are enormously talented in many fields — not to become professional musicians, but to produce performances many don’t realize they’re capable of producing.
I still remember him saying at the first rehearsal of my senior year that for most of us, the P.U. orchestra was the best one in which we would play during our lifetimes. As I had no plans to play professionally, I took that thought to heart throughout that year. And although, to my surprise, I eventually became one of the exceptions, the satisfaction of knowing I was part of a group that was “playing above its head” is something that remains unique to my time at Princeton. Keep up the good work, Michael!