Story by Brie Boss. 

Trans-Siberian Orchestra is an American progressive rock band that was founded in 1996 by Paul O’Neill. In 1999, the band gained popularity as they started touring after producing their second album. Band members included O’Neill, Al Pitrelli, Chris Caffery and Johnny Lee Middleton, according to the Trans-Siberian main website.

McKenna Motto, a freshman studying music, said she was able to perform a few shows with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

Motto said she started playing the violin at a young age. Her mom thought about putting her in piano but felt differently.

“My mom planned on putting me into piano lessons but received a strong impression from the Holy Ghost to put me into violin, and I’ve been playing ever since,” Motto said.

Motto has played violin for 10 years now. She always wondered if violin was really for her, but from certain experiences Motto knew there was a reason why her mom handed her a violin she said.

“I have learned more about myself and who I am from playing the violin,” Motto said. “I feel like everyone receives that ‘aha’ moment some point in their lives when they realize who they are as a person, and mine came from playing and experiences through the violin.”

She said she had the opportunity to join the Lyceum Philharmonic Orchestra, located in American Fork, Utah, growing up. Being a part of Lyceum Philharmonic for six years, Motto had the chance to play with several groups including the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

“Every year we are able to perform with well-known performers,” Motto said. “One year I was asked to play with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Since the Trans-Siberian Orchestra is made up of electric violins that leads to more of a rock and roll type of playing, it was hard for me to adjust because I am classically trained.”

Playing with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Motto said her eyes opened to new and different ways of expressing herself and music.

“I loved how my view of music was broadened,” Motto said.

Throughout the time in the Lyceum Philharmonic, Motto said she was able to play with several groups and singers. Some of them included The Piano Guys, David Archuleta and Jenny Oaks Baker.

“I am able to express and share my testimony with others,” Motto said. “Sometimes my words will get jumbled when trying to express feelings, but playing the violin expresses my feelings more than words could ever.”