Illinois State University trumpeter Stephanie Beatty credited a Friends of the Arts grant for allowing her to take a “life-changing” trip to Italy in late June for the Orvieto Musica TrumpetFest.

Beatty and four other Illinois State students attended the weeklong festival, playing music for locals and learning with students from across the United States. They are planning to hold a concert and presentation based on their visit in the fall at the University.

Beatty, a native of the small western Pennsylvania town of Brookville, is a second-year graduate student studying music performance. She recently spoke about her decision to come to Illinois State, her experiences in Italy, and the importance of the grants.

Why are you studying trumpeting?

Ever since I was a kid it was something that I always enjoyed doing. Honestly, by the time I became a senior in high school and I had to make a big decision about what I wanted to do the rest of my life, it was the only thing I really ever saw myself doing as an adult for a professional career.

Tell me a little bit about what you foresee in the future.

One of my biggest goals is to get into a military band or something of that caliber. I’m very excited and hoping to teach soon, as my undergraduate degree is in education. I want to pay everything forward as everyone has done for me. Then I’m hopefully going to eventually get a doctorate degree and pay it forward to people who also want to become professionals and not just children who want to learn in the music field.

Why did you come to Illinois State University?

Whenever I graduated my undergrad (from Indiana University of Pennsylvania), I knew that I was stuck in this little bubble. I had never been anywhere very far from home. And I needed to prove it to myself and I think to a lot of other people that I wasn’t afraid to just go out on a limb and go somewhere completely out of my comfort zone. I think I really needed that in my musical development. And ISU just really seemed to fit what I was looking for at that time.

Tell me about your trip to the Orvieto Musica TrumpetFest?

There were four universities, all from America, who met up at this little town called Orvieto. It’s about two hours from Rome. All of the students who went there—there were about 30 of us in total that were trumpeters—we went with our professors, met up every morning, had rehearsals, master classes, warm-up sessions. And then we gave concerts throughout the town of Orvieto for all of the locals. We also had a lot of people who were passing through that also would stop for these concerts. We also did some collaboration with the other part of the festival that was there for three weeks. There were some string players, vocalists, and a pianist.

 Any highlights from the trip?

The whole trip for me was actually unforgettable. It was a life-changing thing. The concerts were the biggest payoff that I have ever had. I learned a lot about myself, I learned a lot about music, and I learned a lot about culture.

What kind of music were you playing?

We played a lot of American trumpet ensemble music to introduce to the Italians. But we also played a lot of things that were written by Verdi and other composers who are very close to the Italian culture and that they really appreciate that maybe Americans don’t really appreciate when we play here quite as much.

Why are the Friends of the Arts grants important?

For this specifically, they gave me a very generous donation, and honestly without it, I don’t know that I would have been able to raise the funds to go at all. So I would have really missed out on a life-changing event.