Sinfoniac Q&A: Jay Stephany

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A group of community members (called Sinfoniacs) are learning new instruments to perform as an orchestra on March 10 at 7:30 p.m. at UW Fox Valley in Menasha. Proceeds benefit the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra and Youth Orchestra. Jay Stephany, manager of talent acquisition at Plexus Corp., fills us in on his Sinfonia journey.



Describe your musical background: Sinonfia poster

Besides learning how to play the recorder in the 4th grade (I can still play a mean “Hot Cross Buns”), four years ago I started to learn to play the guitar. It was always on my bucket list and a great way to take a step back in life and focus on something challenging and new. Just point me towards the nearest campfire for a sing-a-long.

What made you want to be a Sinfoniac? 

I have had friends that have participated in Sinfonia in the past. It looked like so much fun and what a great way to support the Fox Valley Symphony.

Describe your relationship with your instrument: 

I would put us in the “It’s Complicated” status on Facebook. The trumpet in an orchestra is like the lead guitar in a rock band. If a guitarist messes up a solo, everyone knows it. Same for a trumpet player. If the trumpet looks good, I look good.

What’s the most challenging aspect of learning the trumpet? 

When you look at a trumpet you think, “I’ll just blow into this thing and it will make noise.” Not the case. Also the fingering of a trumpet can be complex even with only three valves…and don’t get me started on how and when to use the valve slides. Also I think my cat will never be the same because he howls when I practice.

What piece of music are you most excited to play and why? 

The main theme to Star Wars. Knowing that the theme this year was “Sinfonia Goes to the Movies,” I knew that Star Wars had to be one of the pieces of music in the performance. It’s also why I chose the trumpet as my first choice of instrument. You can’t help but be excited when you hear the trumpets blare at the start of that piece.

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Any advice for audience members? 

Bring a good set of earplugs and your sense of humor. I know that the Sinfoniacs are doing the same.

“Sinfonia Goes to the Movies” tickets are available at or 968-0300.

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