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Teen pursues dream of being a professional bassoonist

LEMONT – Rebecca Shepro knows the bassoon is an odd instrument, but that’s part of the reason she and other bassoon players like it.

“We’re all kind of alike,” she said. “We’re all kind of quirky.”

Shepro, a junior at Lemont High School, is a bassoonist in the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra and hopes to someday play professionally.

She joined band in the sixth grade to play the clarinet. After a couple of months, her teacher asked her to try the bassoon

She said learning the instrument was difficult.

“When I started off, it did not sound good at all,” she said. “The way I learned to sound okay was by listening to recordings.”

One of her reasons for not giving up was her grandfather.

“My parents always told me stories about how my grandpa played bassoon and I never got to meet him,” she said. “So I figured that would be a chance to get to know him better, by playing his instrument.”

Shepro said her goal is to earn a master’s degree in musical performance. She plans to apply to Julliard School and is also looking at DePaul University, Indiana University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

She said she decided to be a professional bassoon player when she realized she couldn’t imagine not playing the bassoon as an adult.

“I feel like if I don’t pursue it as a career, I might not follow through with it,” she said.

Her mother, Patricia, has watched in amazement as Rebecca has earned honors for her playing and had the chance to tour Europe.

“The opportunities that have opened up and become available to her are phenomenal,” she said.

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