Patti Rasmussen

SCV Youth Orchestra needs a place to perform

Patti Rasmussen · August 2, 1997

The Santa Clarita Valley Youth Orchestra has been a part of this community since 1969. Once housed at Cal Arts, the orchestra moved to College of the Canyons in 1989. The college administers the program through its music department. Typically, students range in age from eight to twenty, can read music, and have a minimum of one to two years' experience playing and performing on their instruments.

Classes are held on Saturday mornings during the regular school year. The program includes sectional and full orchestra rehearsals, music theory, history and fundamentals. Additionally, students have the opportunity to work with professional musicians who conduct master classes for the orchestra. A summer program is offered where students attend four days a week for two weeks. At the end of the classes, a performance for the community is held in the cafeteria of COC.

I attended the performance on Saturday, July 19. The Youth Orchestra performed with the Camerata del Conservatorio and Orquesta del Centro de Estudios Musicales. With musical direction by Robert Lawson and Sergio Ramirez Cardenas from Mexico, assisted by Jim Altizer, the performance opened with the advanced orchestra (comprised of mainly junior and senior high school students), and making its debut was the newly-formed prelude strings, courtesy of a $1,000 grant from Target.

The standing-room-only audience enjoyed the rest of the evening listening to the combined talents of the 50-plus performers as the Santa Clarita Valley students joined those from Tijuana and Ensenada, Mexico. Standout performances from Eric Folsom, a twelve-year old trumpeter from Aqua Dulce, and a musical composition written and performed by Javier Montiel, a founding member of the Cuarteto Latinoamericano, highlighted the day. By the ending number, "Stars and Stripes Forever", the audience was on its feet, feeling ever-so patriotic and showing its appreciation through the loud applause that followed.

Several proud parents were in the audience. Mike and Judy Barringer were very happy with their son's first performance with the orchestra. Derrick, thirteen years old, has been taking private lessons and tried out for the orchestra this summer. "Practicing non-stop for the first two days, I was a little nervous," said Derrick. "But now I really enjoy it."

Camber Jones, a sixth grader from Newhall Elementary School, also made her debut. Her mother, Carleen, said she has been studying the flute since fourth grade and has taken private lessons. Camber was accepted into the program this summer and found it to be "very challenging," but enjoys it very much.

A foundation was formed in 1985 by Sue and Dave Bozman to administer and raise funds for the Youth Orchestra. A wine tasting fund-raiser is held annually at Cal Arts and monies raised provide sheet music, band instruments and repairs, space rentals and salaries. The Bozmans were acknowledged for their fund raising efforts at the end of the performance, along with Robin Marks, who tends the music library; Terry Montross and Jackie Rosenboom, recognized for their part on the board of directors; Hillary West, for grant writing; and Sally Angel, president.

Terry Montross, who introduced me to all the people who make this musical experience possible, explained that one of the major obstacles for the Youth Orchestra is finding a place to perform. (Funny, I think I know of someone who is restoring an old building for just that purpose). Currently the students perform in the cafeteria at College of the Canyons, Cal Arts and, believe it or not, travel to the Antelope Valley to perform at the Lancaster Performing Arts Center. Besides the cultural exchange with the Mexican students, Youth Orchestra has traveled to England for a musical-type foreign exchange program.

Auditions for the fall semester will be held on August 23 from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday classes begin August 31. Appointments for auditions must be made with Terry Montross at 254-8497.

The community will get a chance to hear the Youth Orchestra perform in December. Don't miss this great experience. Let's show these kids that the community of Santa Clarita appreciates their musical talent.

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Patti Rasmussen's commentaries appear in The Signal on Saturdays.

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