The Jazz ensembles kicked off the winter concert series on Friday, December 1, at Santa Fe Prep. This year the Jazz Rep Orchestra program included a medley of Disney tunes, and the jazz vocals of Joshua Waltman and Amelia Mazzentini-Clark. Jazz Performance improvised an esoteric version of Chick Corea's "Sea Journey," successfully captained by Johnathan Ware. Both groups combined for a rousing version of our new theme song, "Watermelon Man." We’re excited to keep getting the word out and grow these groups in numbers and reputation! Below are photos of the groups rehearsing with Jazz Director Chris Ishee.
Photos: Artotems Co.
On Saturday we moved to the Scottish Rite Temple for the remainder of the weekend. This was a new venue for our students and provided a wonderful look at history and a fresh background for SFYSA students who are used to performing at the St. Francis Auditorium.
With record enrollment in the Elementary Strings program at our new school, Amy Biehl, we had a wonderful spread of students from across the city perform with us for the first time. Each level played beautifully together, and we are all very proud! Special thanks goes to our wonderful teachers. Christine Chen, who has been with us for 6 years, and two new teachers Sage Barton and Rodrigo Pessoa. The students are very lucky to have them! "I look forward with excitement and joy to what's next for our students in the spring semester!" - Haley Lovelace, ES Co-Director.
Saturday evening was the first formal concert for our new SFYSA Mariachi Director Santiago Romero, and it was a great success! For many students in Mariachi Garibaldi, the winter 2017 concert was particularly important, as it was the first time they'd performed in front of an audience. Performing live helps to link how classroom time and lessons relate to the performance piece and why it’s so important practice. For many, this was a big weekend for overcoming stage fright and developing faith in themselves. Several Garibaldi students also sang for the first time. "You can see the immediate effects on their self-esteem," Mr. Romero shared, "all the kids sang and they felt supported."
A highlight for the advanced group, Mariachi Estrella, was stretching to perform choruses in two and three-part harmony as an ensemble. Mr. Romero explained that one of the current goals for this advanced ensemble is to support the students and build their confidence to perform on their own -- without instructors -- and to work on memorizing performance pieces. We know they are on their way!
Photos: Dorothy Bowers-Wu, ES Co-Director
Prelude String Orchestra students played beautifully at the Winter Concert! They performed 4 pieces, including Pachelbel’s famous Canon in D - everything in 3 part harmony. No easy feat for these beginning students. They watched and listened like pros. Go PSO! New PSO conductor, Carla Kountoupes, "was thrilled for [her] inaugural concert with SFSYA. [She] feels so fortunate to be part of such an amazing community organization that touches so many families in Santa Fe."
Sunday in the Scottish Rite Temple was all Orchestras! We started with a joint performance of the Intermezzo String Orchestra and Youth Philharmonic.
The Intermezzo String Orchestra performed for the first time under the baton of Elizabeth Young, who we are so glad to have on our Artistic Team. She brought together a wide range of experience and ages to perform wonderfully from a Baroque beginning, through an arrangement of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah, and finishing with the very festive Dance of the Tumblers! After an intermission to reset the stage, the Youth Philharmonic was led in performance by Ryan Finn, another new member of our artistic team! Finn’s students played marvelously and they all enjoyed the beauty of the venue. Mr. Finn was especially proud of how the students performed Mozart's Symphony no. 36, “The Linz.” ISO and YP came together to finish the concert, playing a celebratory holiday medley.
We finished our winter concert series with the Youth Symphony Orchestra, under the guidance of William Waag, who is also our Director of Orchestras.
The concert included Keenan McDonald's Marimba Concerto, which was well received. This was the the first time, during Mr. Waag's tenure, that a percussion instrument was featured in a concerto, and SFYSA’s new flute choir, coached by Dorothy Bowers-Wu, also performed in concert for the first time. Mr. Waag remarks that "the YSO ensemble is getting larger, and has its most robust sound since I came to Santa Fe. It's exciting."
Photos: Artotems Co.
Finally, SFYSA Operations Assistant, Susan Brown, who is now into her second year on staff, shared her experience of the concerts. “This was the first time I have heard all the ensembles in concert and I can't tell you how impressed I am with the talent and hard work I observed. I would like to thank all the parent volunteers as well. Their help at these events is so important; we couldn't put on these concerts without them. On a personal note, it was a pleasure to meet the families and put faces with names.”
All in all it was a grand success and fantastic finale to our fall semester!
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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.