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.
By Andrea Cassutt, Executive Director
On Thursday, November 9th, we enjoyed a delightful evening of entertaining our friends, family and community at our new offices. Food, drink, friendship and music were had by all who attended.
Several of our youngest students from the Prelude String Orchestra performed for us, and Weston Keller, grabbed a violin from our instrument room and played some Vivaldi. It was a treat to “warm our space,” show others where we’ve landed, and share our evolving professionalism and vision.
It was a special evening, and several people said they’d like to do it again. So watch for an invitation next year!
The Santa Fe Youth Symphony Association's top orchestral ensemble, the Youth Symphony Orchestra (YSO) will be performing side-by-side with the Santa Fe Symphony during the annual "Christmas Treasures" Concert at the Lensic Performing Arts Center.
For the third year in a row, the YSO musicians will join this special holiday concert. The groups are set to perform “A Christmas Festival” and “Sleigh Ride” (Leroy Anderson) together on Sunday, December 10, 4 p.m. at the Lensic Performing Arts Center.
The concert is perfectly timed to be part of your holiday celebration. You can buy tickets for this event at ticketssantafe.org or on the Santa Fe Symphony Website, ticket range from $22 to $80.
By Santiago Romero, SFYSA Mariachi Director
The Canyon Road Parade was a huge success and we had a great time! Luckily we were able to piece together enough Mariachi trajes (suits) for all members of Mariachi Estrella. The students sounded great and we had the opportunity to perform for people from around the country and the world! We even had the opportunity to perform for a group of parade-goers that followed us to Patrick Smith Park!
A special thank you to the students and instructors for arriving early and showing up ready to play! Also, we’d like to thank our parents for bringing your kids on time, taking great photos and walking the entire parade with us. We’re truly grateful for each and every student in the program and excited to guide them to musical greatness!
Our jazz students headed to Hummingbird Music Camp last weekend for a fabulous retreat overnight, with beautiful weather, lots of learning and fun. For many of our students, this was their first experience with such an intensive rehearsal and workshop schedule. They all got A LOT done in a short period of time and felt very satisfied. Christopher Ishee, SFYSA Jazz Director shares, "We had a moment right before we finished Saturday that was musically amazing and everyone recognized it as something that wouldn't have been accomplished without our full day of work together."
Fabulous musician and recording artist, Rusty Crutcher joined Ishee and together they had time to work with each student one-on-one in a 30-45 minute session of private instruction. Crutcher worked with the winds and Ishee with the rhythm section. The combination of ensemble time and intensive one-on-one support made magic happen that is only really possible in a setting like this.
The group also made the most musically of being out in nature. They spent time listening to "found sounds" (and passing motorcycles, etc.) and turned them into musical ideas resulting in a 4-5 min. piece that Ishee says took them through an imagined 24 hr cycle of the day.
They also got to enjoy the wonder of being at camp, the fun a campfire night, and meeting the 97-year-old camp founder and NM Music icon Wanda Higgins.
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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.