Young musicians to take spotlight with Youth Symphony

November 1, 2010

Kara Patterson

Post Crescent

During the Fox Valley Symphony Youth Orchestras' fall concert, select Youth Symphony string players will accompany an all-girl vocal ensemble in a performance of Pergolesi's "Stabat Mater."

The concert focuses on collaboration among the community's advanced student musicians through an outreach of the Youth Orchestras, which encompasses the Youth Symphony for ninth through twelfth graders, Philharmonia Strings for seventh through tenth graders, and the bridge group Philharmonia Strings Chamber Ensemble.

Guest artists for the Nov. 7 concert include the Lawrence Academy of Music Girl Choir's Bel Canto, which sings Pergolesi's sacred work, and organist Don VerKuilen, an Appleton East High School student who will solo with the Youth Symphony.

"It really is a lovely experience for the girls to have, singing with an orchestra," said Karen Bruno, Lawrence Academy of Music's director and the artistic director and conductor of the Girl Choir. "It doesn't happen easily or often because of the logistics."

The concert, which opens the Youth Orchestras' 36th season, begins at 4:30 p.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel at Lawrence University in downtown Appleton. Tickets cost $10 for adults and $6 for students.

The season opener also is the performance debut of the Philharmonia Strings Chamber Ensemble, the Youth Orchestras' newest group. The 15-member ensemble, which will play Mendelssohn's "Sinfonia No. 2 in D Major," is for emerging leaders in the Philharmonia Strings.

"Mendelssohn for string players can be rather challenging," said Melissa Gurholt, Fox Valley Symphony's youth and education programs manager. "It's a lot of good technical work for the students, for sure. There are three first violins, three second violins, four violas, four cellos and one bass player. There's a lot of pressure to really play their part. They can't hide behind anybody."

The program's first half also includes Philharmonia Strings, which will play pieces by Telemann, Stamitz, Atwell and Jeffes.

After intermission, the Youth Symphony will perform works by Shostakovich, Smetana and Saint-Saens.
"What the Youth Symphony is playing is music that has been on our adult programs," Gurholt said. "They're not playing arranged versions of these works; they're actually playing what the composer wrote. Eight of the Youth Symphony girls are singing in the Girl Choir so there's a bit of cross-over there and that's pretty cool, too."

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