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  • Writer's pictureTori Leto

The Tyson Family Scholarship in honor of Frank Tyson for Outstanding Achievement in Classical Performing Arts Scholarship Submission

As I prepare to compete for the title of Miss Florida 2024 in the Miss America opportunity, I am thrilled to present my submission for the Tyson Family Scholarship in honor of Frank Tyson for Outstanding Achievement in Classical Performing Arts Scholarship Submission.

My Submission

Standing on the dock in Hawaii, performing for the 75th Remembrance of Pearl Harbor Ceremony, was the culmination of years of practice, dedication, and unwavering commitment. From early morning rehearsals alone in the band room before school started, to late-night practice sessions with a silent mute long after my parents had gone to bed, my journey in music has been one of relentless pursuit and profound passion. The honor of performing at such a historic event was a testament to the countless hours spent perfecting my talent.

When I was invited to perform a solo at Carnegie Hall for the Hero's Fallen But Not Forgotten performance, I felt an immense responsibility and honor that I did not take lightly. I dedicated myself to this performance with the same intensity and respect I had shown in previous endeavors. Every note, every phrase, was meticulously practiced. I knew that honoring the lives lost in our military and from 9/11 required more than just technical proficiency; it demanded emotional depth and connection. Standing on that iconic stage, I felt the weight of history and the responsibility to convey the collective sorrow and resilience of a nation.

Performing taps for Military Appreciation Night for the Lightning at a sold-out Amalie Arena, with 20,000 people in attendance, was another profound experience. The silence of the crowd, the resonance of the trumpet, and the atmosphere charged with respect and patriotism made every hour spent on fundamentals worthwhile. Developing a mature tone, powerful sound, and perfect tuning required countless hours of practice, but moments like this, where music could transcend words and touch hearts directly, made it all worth it.

Music requires hard work, not just to perform, but to move, inspire, and educate. It has a unique power to address the harder topics that we must digest and go through as a society. That is why I feel a deep responsibility in my music to tackle these challenging subjects head-on. For Miss Florida 2024, I have chosen to perform "American Elegy" by Frank Ticheli. This piece was composed in memory of those who lost their lives at Columbine High School, The trumpet solo represents resilience and the ability to overcome tragedy as a community connected by our shared humanity. As I play, I strive to embody the strength and unity that music can foster. This piece speaks to the core of what music can be: a medium for reflection, connection, and healing.

In every performance, whether on the dock in Hawaii, at Carnegie Hall, or in front of a massive stadium crowd, I am reminded of the importance of my dedication and hard work. Music is my way of honoring the past, addressing the present, and inspiring the future. Through music, we can remember, reflect, and dream of a better world together.

My talent on the trumpet did not come naturally; it required immense dedication and sacrifice. In high school, I practiced an hour before school and during lunch, adding two extra hours daily outside of three band periods. Multiple nights a week, I had 3 to 4-hour rehearsals for various bands and pursuits. Despite the rigor of my in school commitments, I sought opportunities to grow as a musician, playing with the University of South Florida Bay Winds, competing in all-county and all-state ensembles, and performing at solo and ensemble competitions from freshman to senior year.

Trumpet was more than a hobby or a career; it was my coping mechanism through mental health adversity. It was my way to find purpose and meaning in the pain I was dealing with. I am immensely proud of the countless hours I have put into mastering the trumpet, but I am most proud of the emotions I have evoked in others through my performances.

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