SFYSA CULTURE: FUN AND EXCELLENCE!
By Andrea Cassutt, Executive Director
Last weekend, the Youth Symphony Orchestra (YSO) and the Youth Philharmonic (YP), more than 80 kids, headed out to Glorieta Camps for a weekend of fun, bonding, instrumental coaching, rehearsal and performance.
The retreat was arranged and lead by our wonderful ensemble conductors, William Waag (also SFYSA Director of Orchestras), and Ryan Finn. The retreat weekend is part of our annual programming and included in the cost of tuition. Both Mr. Waag and Mr. Finn draw forth and inspire excellence and musicianship from their students and ensembles, and they are two guys who also like to have fun! Sometimes in our world excellence goes with being serious, and here at SFYSA we all like to pair excellence and fun.
Dorothy Bowers Wu, one of our flute coaches (and also SFYSA’s new Associate Elementary Strings Director) said after the retreat, “The flutists were tons of fun to work with! The YSO flutes are a really strong section and responded quickly and sensitively to my suggestions for working out balance and intonation as a section. We talked about flute technique as it relates to playing in tune when there are a lot of people playing unison, and across a wide dynamic range.”
“...it was the best part of my weekend! I got to witness a lot of great teaching and a lot of professional and student bonding."
Our SFYSA Strings Coach, Dana Winograd, shared that “it was the best part of my weekend! I got to witness a lot of great teaching and a lot of professional and student bonding. Waag and Finn are creating and maintaining a great culture. Super happy to be a part of it.”
Professional support for the retreat included Head Clinician: Kathleen Hill, a widely celebrated string educator in New Mexico. Presently she conducts the Albuquerque Youth Orchestra, and she conducted the New Mexico All-State Concert Orchestra in 2016, and about ten (10) Sectional Clinicians who are an excellent mix of professional symphony musicians and music educators from New Mexico who worked with individual sections in both YSO and YP.
On Sunday afternoon, all parents gathered for a wonderful concert featuring both the YP ensemble and the YSO playing outdoors under a beautiful blue sky and sharing the great work they put in and the music they had begun to create together. One of the parents said to me as I was leaving, “This was just the best old fashioned fun. As it should be. Classical music outdoors with a picnic on a beautiful afternoon.”
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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.