By: Mari Angulo, Exec. Director
The Santa Fe Youth Symphony Association's Spring Concert Series was held from April 24th to April 28th at various venues throughout Santa Fe. It was the first time in ten years that SFYSA had scheduled a concert series within the month of April, however the change was well received by parents and students who find themselves increasingly busy during the month of May with finals, graduations, and other recitals.
The weekend began with the Jazz ensembles concert, which was held at Santa Fe Prep in the Driscoll Auditorium. The group's repertoire included pieces by Herbie Hancock, Wes Montgomery, Thelonius Monk, and Bart Howard among others. Piano player, Cybelle Mayes-Osterman, was featured singing in various pieces.
On Saturday, April 25, the Elementary Strings and Mariachi concerts took place at the Bryan Fant Auditorium at Capital High School to allow for easier access to SFYSA's south side families. The change in venue likely contributed to an increase in audience numbers with over 300 total attendees.
Aside from its traditional performance pieces, the Mariachi concert featured an original debut performed by, Mariachi Estrella violinist, Lupita Benavente. Para Que Brindarle al Fracaso is an original work by local producer John Salazar for Benavente, as she prepares to launch her singing career.
Finally, the Orchestras concert took place at the St. Francis Auditorium. The concert had to be split into two sets because of the increased number of students performing and audience members. The concert welcomed the first (orchestra concert) performance by the Elementary String Orchestra (ESO) ensemble for third year Elementary Strings students. ESO had previously performed only at the ES concert as the "big kids" of the show, this time the students were able to observe the advanced level orchestras with older performers. SFYSA hopes to inspire those students to move on to more advanced orchestras and increase retention by strengthening the connection between the introductory Elementary Strings program to the rest of the advanced orchestra groups.
Elementary String Orchestra student, Amelie Piburn, was recognized during the concert for practicing her instrument 434 consecutive days (at the time)! Her streak began when, during lesson, she mentioned to ES director, Karles McQuade, that she had practiced her instrument for seven days in a row. Karles then offered to reward her with a "Magic the gathering" card. Seven days quickly turned to weeks, and when Amelie reached a year without breaking her practice streak, she was rewarded with a music stand, professional-grade rosin, and a practice mute. As of today she's practiced for 450 days. She hopes to continue breaking her own record and make it to the two year mark!
The orchestras played a variety of music, including compositions by SFYSA's very own conductors and students. The Elementary String Orchestra and Youth Philharmonia Orchestra played pieces by Karles McQuade, Intermezzo String Orchestra conductor. The Youth Philharmonia Orchestra also debuted "Internal Dialogues", a piece by Youth Symphony Orchestra cellist, Lila Baca. The group then played "Declaration and Variations by their own conductor Richard Snider.
For the first time ever, the orchestras concert also included a dance performance. The Intermezzo String Orchestra performance of Kabuki Dance by Richard Meyer, included a performance by young dancer Flynn-Bella Ericson. Flynn has been dancing since age four with Aspen Santa Fe Ballet and is currently a 6th grader in the Santa Fe Public Schools. The collaborative performance was a real treat for the audience.
The Youth Symphony Orchestra presented pieces by Mendelssohn, excerpts from the Carmen Suites by Bizet, and a special treat from a 10-student string (and Piano) ensemble, Muerte del Angel by Astor Piazzolla. The group dubbed the "Piazzolla group" and conductor William Waag have been busy with rehearsals to perfect the pieces, "crashing" an SFYSA board meeting with their music, and even learning from the pros in a recent "one-on-one" at SFYSA with the Astor Piazzolla Quintet from Austin, Texas.
The orchestra concert grand finale featured a collaboration between the Youth Symphony Orchestra and Youth Philharmonia Orchestra with a performance of Richard Meyer's Millennium.
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Our Mission is to inspire and engage the youth of Northern New Mexico's multicultural communities through excellent music education, the guidance of music professionals, and performance opportunities from small ensemble to full orchestra in Jazz, Mariachi and Orchestra.