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Faces of the Symphony

Meet our Backstage Volunteer: Sam Tripp

By November 30, 2022January 4th, 2023No Comments
Backstage Volunteer: Sam Tripp

Sam Tripp is highlighting the magic that happens behind the scenes at the Springfield Symphony Orchestra this season. Follow along on Facebook and Instagram for a peek behind the curtain before, during, and after the show.

Can you tell me about your background?

I am currently a Master’s student at Tufts University. I’m studying Musicology, though I’m making the transition to Music Theory at the moment. I did my undergrad at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, majoring in Music and minoring in Romance Languages.

I grew up in Western Mass and have been going to Springfield Symphony Chorus rehearsals since I was about 3. I went to my first orchestra concert just a few months later and I’ve been going to the Symphony ever since. I kind of became a little obsessed with it, I still am a little obsessed with it.

I’ve sung in the chorus since I was 13 and then I joined the Youth Orchestra for my last few years of high school so I have a long history with the organization.

When did you first become interested in symphonic music?

It was always playing in the house. Mostly film music or classical music that was used in film, Scheherazade or Carmina Burana. My first “live” performance was a broadcast of The Magic Flute in May 2001. Springfield Symphony Orchestra did it, semi-staged with costumes by Eric Carle. Apparently, the only major temper tantrum I ever threw was when my parents wouldn’t let me go to that concert. I was 3 and they said, “you’re not sitting through a three-hour Mozart opera that starts at 8 pm” but it was being broadcast on the tv so I watched it anyway. I made it all the way through and I think that’s probably where my love started.

I decided then at some point in my life I’m going to play flute, which didn’t start until fourth grade with elementary school band. A few years later I started studying flute with Ellen Redman who is the Principal Piccolo in the Symphony. 

Were your parents musicians?

My mom (Jeanne Tripp) was a singer. She was in the Springfield Symphony Chorus before I was born. She also played a little piano and a little clarinet. My dad is more coming at it as a lover of music than a musician.

Tell me more about your involvement with the SSO

Through the chorus I got into the Orchestra. It was originally just going to concerts the chorus was involved in and then slowly convincing my parents that I really wanted to go to the orchestral shows too. By middle school, we had season tickets.

What is your best memory thus far of the SSO?

I have two and both of them are actually relatively recent. The Verdi Requiem was really phenomenal. It was a really amazing experience to sing in that. Some really gorgeous flute playing is what I remember most from that. Ann (Bobo, Principal Flute) had this high B Flat that was the most beautiful thing I ever heard in my life. Then Mahler’s Second Symphony in the Spring of 2019. That was another one of those performances that I’ll never forget. So many of my most memorable musical experiences are with this orchestra.

What are your plans for your PhD?

Ideally it will be a PhD in Music Theory that will let me also do Musicology and then from there hopefully get a job at a university. My backup plan is to go back for a second Master’s in Library Science and become a librarian. 

Have you done any traveling to experience music abroad?

I presented at a conference in Calgary in June. At that conference I did see a concert that was two silent films with live organ accompaniment. I am presenting at a conference in France in December about John Williams. The whole conference is John Williams-focused which is really exciting. There will be two concerts associated with that.

What are you most excited to show us backstage this season?

I think the Holiday Pops is going to be really exciting because there’s going to be somewhere around 150 singers plus the orchestra. I think there will be a lot of excitement backstage and I’ll  be backstage the whole time to capture the excitement. It’s the first concert that the Springfield Symphony Chorus has coming back. There are a whole bunch of high school singers joining as well so I think it will be very high energy because who doesn’t love Christmas and Holiday music?

All of the concerts in the spring are also very good programs with wonderful conductors so hopefully (I will be) getting some little quick interviews with musicians too.

What else should we know?

I have been going to the Boston Symphony almost every week this year. I saw the Berliner Philharmonic and obviously, they are both phenomenal orchestras, very technically good, but there’s just something about Springfield that they don’t have. It could just be my emotional connection to the musicians. They have been my biggest support mechanism since at least middle school when I started getting to know them. There is this passion that they have that is just not there with the Boston Symphony or the Berliner Phil so we’re really lucky to have them. 

There’s some phenomenal musicians in this orchestra and they’re also really good people too.