By Michael Peterson, Saugus Community Contributor
The Santa Clarita Valley Youth Orchestra (SCVYO) opened their concert season with performances by a variety of their senior ensembles on Sunday, October 22 at the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center at the College of the Canyons. The Santa Clarita Brass Ensemble, the Symphony of the Canyons, and two groups from the Chamber Music Ensemble took the stage performing a variety of pieces, from Klaus Baldet’s Pirates of the Caribbean to selections from Johannes Brahms Symphony No.2 in D Major.
One of the treats of the evening were solo performances by two of the musicians from the Symphony of the Canyons concerto competition winners. Cellist Samea Derrick was the featured artist for the performance of Camile Saint-Saëns Cello Concerto No.1 in A Minor, while William Suwandi exhibited his talents with the violin for Mozart’s Violin Concerto No.4 in DMajor. Each performer returned to the stage three times to acknowledge the applause of the audience at the conclusion of the pieces.
Over the past year, the SCVYO has expanded their program from four to seven ensembles. The Prelude Winds and Brass ensemble works with young musicians with at least a year’s experience playing reed, wind, and brass instruments. To give young musicians a wider range of experience, the Chamber Music ensembles have the musicians working in smaller groups giving them greater responsibility as well as adding to their leadership and communication skills. The third addition to the program, one of the featured performances of the evening, is the SCV Brass Ensemble which gives the more seasoned brass players a greater experience outside of orchestral or band settings.
The SCVYO has been able to increase these offerings through a series of grants, while keeping the cost of tuition for their program within reach of many Santa Clarita families. Other orchestral programs within the region have tuition costs that range from double to four times the cost per semester. Recently the SCVYO was awarded a matching grant from the LA County Arts Commission. To help match the funds, the SCVYO is selling a holiday favorite, poinsettias. Currently they are taking orders until November 18. More information is available about the poinsettia campaign and the youth orchestra ensembles at www.scvyo.org or by contacting the executive directors Bess and Chuck Knight at [email protected].