Emily DeLessio’s involvement in Marywood’s extracurricular music ensembles was one of the best parts of the alumna’s college experience. It was also one aspect of her academic journey which ended too soon.
As a member of the Class of 2020, the Hospitality Management major was denied the opportunity to play her final concerts as a Pacer due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I was so crushed not to be able to perform my last few concerts at Marywood; being in the music groups was arguably my favorite part of my college experience,” Miss DeLessio said in a statement to Dr. David Romines, Co-Chair of the Music, Theatre and Dance Department, Associate Professor and Director of Bands at Marywood University.
At the time, music was only a hobby for Miss DeLessio. She was forced to put down her French horn in favor of seeking out full-time employment in an uncertain climate. However, her passion for music would not allow her to stay away from her craft forever. She picked up her horn again to join her local symphony in December 2021.
“It made me very happy to start playing music again. Covid was tough on my mental health, especially having to graduate and start my adult life right at the start of it,” Miss DeLessio said. Around that time, she was approached by another orchestra planning to tour Austria as part of the Beethoven Orchestra Festival.
The engagement was initially slated for 2020 to honor Beethoven’s 250th Birthday in Vienna, but the event had been postponed until it was clear that orchestra members would be able to travel safely and in accordance with their itineraries.
For Miss DeLessio, it was an opportunity of a lifetime. She would be given the chance to challenge herself musically and share her talents in locales such as the Mirabell Gardens in Salzburg, the small town of Baden, and the Musikverien in Vienna. She was not going to say no.
The time came, and she embarked with her peers to their designated concerts. The group found a welcoming and enthusiastic crowd of locals in Baden and was astounded by the breathtaking opulence of the gold-gilded Musikverien.
The group’s last concert, scheduled as an outdoor performance in Mirabell Gardens, was canceled because of unexpected rain– the first storm in the ten days that the orchestra was abroad.
Miss DeLessio and her fellow musicians were determined to enjoy their final performance in Austria, regardless of their ability to perform according to the itinerary. The result of their determination culminated in an impromptu performance in their hotel ballroom.
“This was a special moment for everyone, because it proved every member's love for music and dedication to playing it – even without an audience,” she said.
Miss DeLessio is presently a hornist with the Hunterdon Symphony of New Jersey.