Meet the Musician: Assistant Principal Oboe/English Horn Carole Libelo

Where are you from originally?

I was born and raised in Greensburg, PA, about 30 miles SE of Pittsburgh.

What is your position in the orchestra? What are your duties?

My official title is Assistant Principal Oboe / English Horn - I play the major English Horn repertoire. Also, I 'cover' the Principal Oboe parts, which means I need to prepare the principal parts and be ready to play should the Principal take leave or call in sick.

When did you start playing the oboe and what made you chose the instrument?

I started playing the oboe when I was a sophomore in high school. The instrument was basically chosen for me by my high school band director. Just playing the piano, I had never played in a band or tried a band instrument. The band director said he would only accept a beginning oboe or bassoon. I chose the smaller of the two.

Where did you do your training?

I received an undergraduate degree in Music Education from West Virginia University, then a Master of Music degree from New England Conservatory. Al Genovese was my teacher.

When did you join the KCOHO?

I joined the orchestra in 1983.

What has been your favorite musical experience with the KCOHO?

My favorite musical experience lasted for about a decade. When the seating in the pit was quite a bit different, I had a great view of the stage for my first ten years in the orchestra. There were many favorite performances that I can still picture. ABT's Romeo and Juliet starring Kevin McKenzie and Susan Jaffe was probably the most memorable ballet - playing the gorgeous Prokofiev score and watching two of the greatest dancers of our time. There were many great operas with young singers who went on to become stars. Two of the most memorable were Juan Pons in Verdi's Un Ballo in Maschera and Jerry Hadley in Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin.

What do you do when you aren't playing the oboe?

My creative outlet is doing DIY projects for my home as well as for family and friends. From fixer upper houses to creating decor from recycled and up-cycled materials.

Transformation of an old 5-panel door - found on Craigslist - into a headboard

I like to spend most of my free time outdoors. I work a lot on my yard, which I try to make into a park-like setting. It’s a large yard with many flowering shrubs and trees, most of which I started myself through various propagation methods. In recent years, my son and I have been trying hardscaping projects as well.

Other outdoor activities always include the mountains along with canoeing, rafting, and hiking.

Views of the New River in Draper, VA

View from a Virginia section of the Appalachian Trail

Researching my family’s Italian ancestry, I tracked our ancestry back to a small village in Italy where we met many living relatives. I was able to create a family tree through interviews with these relatives and by searching the village’s church records.

Our ancient village of Cercemaggiore in the mountainous central region of Italy.

Carole with cousins in Cercemaggiore

Ancestors are revered in this part of Italy, and their graves are visited frequently. We visited nearly all of our deceased relatives. The cemetery is the second most important landmark to the townspeople, after the church.

This dedication ceremony in 2006 opened a new monument built on a cliff in the outskirts of Ceremaggiore. The monument, called La Porta del Mondo – the door to the world – is dedicated to all the emigrants from Cercemaggiore and their descendants. In this ceremony, our family and all of our descendents were declared official citizens of Cercemaggiore.