By Andrea Cassutt, Executive Director
Raised as I was, I think about Halloween this time of year. Costumes and trick or treating, and scary movies with classical music soundtracks are the stuff of my memories as a child and more recently with my daughter. Here is a link to fun, spooky classical music for Halloween. This would be a great backdrop for visiting trick or treaters or a Halloween party.
One of the joys of our work at SFYSA is the range of music we present, and the ways it expands our cultural reference points as educators and students. Halloween and jazz don't naturally associate in my mind, but here are some treasures I discovered.
The Santa Fe Youth Symphony full orchestras had a wonderful weekend of rehearsals, bonding, and other activities at the Glorieta retreat campus, September 29th and 30th. Student musicians worked with an assortment of music educators and professional symphony musicians from across New Mexico, as well as head string clinician, Ryan Ross, of the the Allen Philharmonic in Texas. The weekend was full of intensive musical work and progress.
Among the non-musical activities were a few games of black light dodge ball, including one round of the Youth Philharmonic vs. Youth Symphony. The friendly competition seemed to reinvigorate the musicians greatly, even after a very long day of rehearsing, chanting "YP" and "YS" respectively. The game also demonstrated that Mr. Finn is a far superior dodge ball player to Mr. Waag.
The Glorieta campus is nestled beautifully in mountains right off of Interstate 25 and was a perfect location for the 1.5 days of musical work for the symphony. Capped off with performance Sunday afternoon, the retreat was a great success.
Thank you to parent, Yuki Murata for these photos.
The Santa Fe Youth Symphony Association's five chamber groups, the 'Con Vivo' Ensembles recently performed in two public events at the First Presbyterian Church of Santa Fe TGIF Series and at the Rivera Family Funerals and Cremations Into the Light Concert Series.
Videos and photos below.
Our second annual showcase featuring the Harlem Quartet and Aldo Lopez Gavilan was a fabulous evening! All who played, conducted, volunteered and attended had a stunning time. A number of people in our audience spoke afterwards of the excellence of our students and surprise at the scope of our programs. Our students spoke eloquently about their participation in SFYSA musical ensembles as a support to their learning, success, happiness, and leadership. The performance was excellent, the music fantastic and the after reception at Santa Fe Oxygen and Healing Bar was cozy and elegant. The event was an incredible educational success, a wonderful experience for our kids to work with the inspiration, support and excellence of the Grammy award-winning Harlem Quartet and Aldo Lopez Gavilan. While we created quite a buzz in the community reaching people with our community vision and sharing about our important work, we fell short of our fund raising goals. If you are in a position to join us as a donor and support our continued growth and access for our community to quality music education, please consider making a donation today.
Photos by Artotems Co.
From Sunday through Thursday of the week before our concert, these visiting professionals met with each of our ensembles. They worked on technique, inspired passion for music, and honed the music preparation we’d already begun. The quartet performed for the ensembles, answered questions, shared tips and professional insight, and had fun!
On Thursday, March 1, eight (8) of our Youth Symphony strings players performed at the Lensic with Black Violin for their Simple Gifts encore! Madelyn Kingston, Lila Baca, Xitlalitl Rodas, Theodore Bloyd, Isabella Clark, Ursula Coe, Angelicia Ochoa-Rivera and Abigail Wilcox. The kids had a great time playing with these crossover rock stars of the classical and hip hop music worlds.
SFYSA Mariachi Estrella was a festive hit performing at the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Holiday Party hosted by First Citizen's Bank. This was an exciting opportunity for SFYSA to be seen in the community and recognized as a resource for youth and music education in many musical genres.
Thanks to Daniel Quat Photography we have fabulous images. Executive Director, Andrea Cassutt, came out for her first event of the holidays.
*click photos to view large*
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!
The Santa Fe Youth Symphony Association's top orchestral ensemble, the Youth Symphony Orchestra performed side-by-side with the Santa Fe Symphony during the annual "Christmas Treasures" Concert at the Lensic Performing Arts Center on December 10. This is a wonderful collaboration and part of the Santa Fe Symphony's educational outreach program.
For the third year in a row, the YSO musicians joined in this special holiday concert. Together, the groups performed “A Christmas Festival” and “Sleigh Ride” (Leroy Anderson). The opportunity to play with professional musicians is an important and wonderful event in our season. Many thanks to Greg Heltman, Guillermo Figueroa and the musicians of the Santa Fe Symphony.
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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.