Photo: Christa Wessel

Since arriving here from North Carolina in 2007, I’ve traveled all around the state and have fallen in love with the high deserts of Eastern Oregon and the magically blue waters of Crater Lake. I also relish a stormy weekend at the Oregon Coast.

I adore the natural beauty of Oregon as much as I cherish the cultural beauty of our region. I could easily find myself in a concert hall every night of the week! I enjoy it all: early music, contemporary music, symphonic music and opera. So as not to exhaust myself I deliberately set aside time to play nerdy board games with friends, or will reserve a lazy afternoon to read a big novel. (I adore Franzen, Eugenides, Chabon and the like.)

I had once hoped to be a professional French horn player – I attended Northwestern University with that aspiration - but I graduated with a Bachelors of Music in Arts Administration. I still tootle my horn occasionally, and also enjoy picking up a ukulele from time to time.

Latest blog entries from Christa Wessel:

On Deck with Cyrus Ngan

Cyrus Ngan is 15 years old and a rising sophomore at Clackamas High School. He has played piano for as long as he can remember, and started playing cello four years ago. In this episode of “On Deck,” Cyrus speaks with Raúl Gómez-Rojas about his musical pursuits, as well as his passion for competitive swimming… More

On Deck with Audrey Opsahl

In this episode of “On Deck,” Amy Faust chats with Audrey Opsahl, a 17 year-old singer with the Pacific Youth Choir and the Cleveland High School Choir. She’s gone from screaming random, original songs as a toddler to singing opera, which she fell in love with after a stint in the children’s chorus for Portland… More

On Deck with Makenzie Monson

Makenzie Monson is a 15-year-old vocalist and pianist who deeply cherishes music in her life. In this episode of On Deck, Makenzie chats with Raúl Gómez-Rojas about how performing for others gives her a sense of purpose,  as well as an opportunity to bring hope and joy to her audiences. In addition to singing and… More

On Deck with Liem Friel

In this episode of “On Deck,” Christa Wessel chats with 17-year old trombonist Liem Friel, who just finished his junior year at Portland’s Cleveland High School.  In addition to playing with his school band, Liem is a member of both the Metropolitan Youth Symphony and the Portland Youth Philharmonic. He continued participating in those ensembles… More

On Deck with Evelyne Knight

Evelyne Knight knows what it’s like to count lots of rests. She also knows that being an orchestral percussionist is A LOT more complex (and fun!) than most people think. In this episode of “On Deck,” Raúl Gómez-Rojas chats with Evelyne, who is 17 years old and a member of the Portland Youth Philharmonic, where… More

On Deck with Catherine Hartrim-Lowe

Raúl Gómez-Rojas chats with 16-year-old Catherine Hartrim-Lowe, a self-described “homeschooled, homesteading, high school sophomore, cellist, vocalist, and amateur pianist living near Vancouver, Washington.” Catherine was first introduced to music through piano lessons at the age of five, falling in love with the mellow, singing quality of the cello around her tenth birthday. She currently sings… More

On Deck with Erika Metzenberg

In this episode of “On Deck,” Amy Faust chats with Erika Metzenberg, a 15 year old violin player with the Metropolitan Youth Symphony. Erika has been playing with MYS for almost 8 years, and has recently picked up the viola as well, taking regular lessons from MYS director (and On Deck host) Raul Gomez. As… More

On Deck with Arthur Khamkhosy

In this episode of “On Deck,” Christa Wessel talks with 16-year old Arthur Khamkhosy, a junior at Clackamas High School. Though he began his musical journey with piano, he now sings with three choirs (including the Pacific Youth Choir and Portland’s Singing Christmas Tree).  He loves the sense of community -and the vibrations- that choir… More

On Deck with George Danzelaud

17-year-old George Danzelaud is senior class president at Lake Oswego High School. He started piano when he was four years old, and picked up the violin soon after. In this episode of “On Deck,” George speaks with Raúl Gómez-Rojas about another one of his passions: graffiti art, as well as the importance of making mistakes, embracing failure and pushing your own limits…. More

On Deck with Leo Trajano

Amy Faust gets to know Leo Trajano, a 7th grader at Evergreen Middle School in Hillsboro whose passion for playing violin is only matched by his passion for piano. (Oh, and ping pong!) Leo plays with the Metropolitan Youth Symphony and he competed last year in the Ten Grands piano competition. He practices about 4… More