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OHS Alum Plays Sydney Opera House
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Taking in the night sights post-performance, OHS alum and Fresno State graduate Julie Bolme during her recent trip to Sydney, Australia with a Fresno State performance group. Photo Contributed

In her early years at Fair Oaks Elementary School, Julie Bolme just wanted to play violin. There was just one small problem; no strings program.

“Mr. Cook put me on my secondary instrument, which was flute,” the now 22-year-old Fresno State graduate stated. “Then I just stuck with it.”

Her tenacity to ‘stick’ with it, led the music student to the Oakdale High School Jazz Band, the Fresno State Symphonic Band and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Music Education.

She will continue on at Fresno State in the fall, seeking her credential in Music Education.

“Kids having that escape from the typical classroom … that’s what I love,” she said of her career choice. “They are able to express themselves in a different way. I think music is a lot of fun and I want kids to have that same experience.”

While much of this may be ‘textbook’ as to how one finds their way to be a music major, what Bolme and her family could not have predicted was her recent opportunity to play at the Sydney Opera House, in Sydney, Australia.

“We played in the Disney Concert Hall, my junior year,” Bolme shared of the unique experience she first experienced with Fresno State. “Then our Director approached us about another trip. An opportunity to travel to Australia and perform.”

The 10-day trip was arranged through World Projects, an organization aimed at presenting music events for students from around the world.

“I talked to my mom about it first,” Bolme said, adding that her parents were so thrilled by the opportunity they planned a family trip to coincide with her performance time.

A total of six of Bolme’s family members traveled there and were treated to multiple performances of the group of 51 performers, led by two directors.

“This event was open to anyone campus wide,” the musician said, “anyone musically talented. Not just students in the music program.”

Prior to departure the group rehearsed a total of three times.

“We were given the music three months ahead,” Bolme said. “He knew our skill set. He had heard everyone play and he knew from past experiences.”

The group performed on three separate occasions during their 10-day trip: Sydney Opera House, Centennial Hall at Sydney Town Hall and Verbrugghen Hall at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. Each performance was 45 minutes in length.

“It was unbelievable just walking up and we saw the Sydney Opera House and thinking I’m going to play there,” the flautist said of her reality. “The first performance, I was nervous. I thought, Oh my goodness this is the Sydney Opera House. I was one of only three flutes there.

“The performance went by very quick,” she continued. “The hall was huge. I thought I can’t believe I’m standing right here, right now.”

While the performance opportunities were the most memorable, Bolme and her group were also able to take in some sights while abroad.

“I loved it, it was beautiful,” Bolme said of Sydney. “I never really thought of myself as a big city person. It was easy to navigate and everyone was really nice.”