Korff School viola student performs with Michael Bublé
calendar icon15 Nov 2023
Lincoln, Neb.--Glenn Korff School of Music student Andrea Alvarado Troncoso, a first-year DMA student in viola performance, crossed an item off her bucket list when she performed with Michael Bublé in Mexico City in October.
Troncoso was invited to perform with the four-time Grammy Award winner for a set of three concerts in Mexico City, Mexico, Oct. 12-14 that concluded his “Higher Tour,” which has been ongoing since the spring of 2022.
Bublé’s tour orchestra includes female string players who change in every country, along with his regular tour band. Troncoso was the principal violist of the 12-string ensemble in Mexico City, which included four first violins, four second violins, two violas and two cellos.
“It was exciting and fulfilling and full of energy,” Troncoso said. “I was feeding off the level of the show, the musicians. It was tough, and that was amazing to experience and participate.”
It had also been a dream of hers to play with Bublé.
“This is a dream that I have just playing specifically with Michael Bublé,” she said. “I wasn’t sure it would happen. It was so specific, and it was because my Mom said one day, I want you to play with Michael Bublé. And I said, yes, I will do it, as if it were that easy. It was there in my heart. And then when I got this message, I was very excited.”
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Troncoso played in Mexico City with Latin American pop and rock artists that would come to the city for concerts.
“Sometimes they would need strings,” she said. “People knew I was playing. I was good at it and had a presence. It stopped with Covid, but then they called me for this.”
Troncoso said the performances were high energy.
“Being there with everyone with so much high energy and screaming and smiling and all of that,” she said. “It’s just instantly contagious. It’s similar to that when one is watching a concert, but I also felt particularly privileged to have the experience of watching from the stage. I also get to see the audience. When they turn their phone lights on, it’s like the sky turning on with hundreds of stars.”
Troncoso and her family were all fans of Bublé, which made the experience even better.
“I was a fan, so it was really, really exciting,” she said. “I’ve liked his music since I was quite young, and my parents as well. They live in Mexico City, and they were able to go to one of the concerts, so that was truly special. They were just having the time of their lives.”
Troncoso also got to sing with Bublé on “When You’re Smiling.”
“In the middle of the song, there is a chorus dialogue in which we would all put our instruments down and sing,” she said. “All of a sudden, he jumped next to my chair, looked me in the eyes and leaned the microphone to me for those lines. So I can not only say that I played with Michael Bublé, but also sang with him in front of 15,000 people. That was fun.”
Troncoso enjoys playing these types of concerts.
“My main path is classical music, but this also brings me so much joy. If I were to choose, I would stick with classical, but I had found myself missing this kind of live performances during these past years,” she said.
Troncoso also learned a lot from the experience.
“So much joy, to start with,” she said. “But also the experience of participating and observing how it is done at a top world show. I just admire every musician there and every engineer and how they worked together. It’s the highest quality I’ve ever seen. And I got to meet new people and make connections and new friends around the world.”
She also learned about life as a touring musician.
“I had this thought of maybe if I get to tour with someone for a long time, I will get tired and will hate playing the same music so many times in a row,” she said. “But then this musician, who has been with Michael Bublé since the very beginning, since 20 years ago, he mentioned that he doesn’t get tired of the music. He might get tired of being homesick or missing his wife, but the show just brings him so much joy even after 20 years and even after a year and a half of touring. That just brought peace to my heart knowing that I could do this.”
There was also a moment during the concert in which Bublé told the audience that the strings section were from Mexico.
“The people were really, really excited, and they value that,” Troncoso said. “And for me it is special, also, because I’ve come to the U.S., and I’m learning so much. Then, I can go back and bring it home, and that sharing has no price.”
Troncoso received support from the Glenn Korff School of Music and Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts to be able to do it.
“They were really supportive, and if it had not been for them, I don’t know if I would have had these experiences,” she said.
Professor of Viola Clark Potter said this was a great experience for Troncoso.
“It was quite an honor for Andrea to be asked to play with Michael Bublé, which is a testament of how hard she has worked to attain that level of expertise. She had a fabulous time, of course,” he said. “Andrea has made a mark on the School of Music in a very short time. She is a marvelous addition to the group of violas we have here, and she is showing excellent leadership with them. She is obviously very skilled as a violist and is an even more pleasant person.”