SCVYO hosts workshop with award winning Palaver Strings


Musicians with the Santa Clarita Valley Youth Orchestra (SCVYO) hosted a one-day workshop and joint concert with the award-winning Boston based group Palaver Strings, as a part of the group’s southern California tour program, “A Voice in the Crowd.”

SCVYO, a youth orchestra group with over 100 local students from elementary school to high school, incorporates different ensembles with different skill levels. These ensembles are designed for kids to work their way up through various levels as they grow musically.

The youth group connected with the famous orchestra through a prior relationship with one of the Youth Orchestra’s supervisors.

Rachel Iba, managing director and director of chamber music for SCVYO, is originally from Boston and used to play with Palaver Strings. Prior to the concert, SCVYO had the opportunity to partake in an education workshop with Palaver Strings.

“I was really excited for my students to meet this group in particular because I feel like they’re a really incredible example of the way you can use music to access and serve your community in addition to playing very high-profile venues,” Iba said.  

Palaver Strings, a group of young professional musicians, are a conductor-less chamber orchestra that has had the opportunity to perform at venues, such as Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. One of the parts of their mission is to collaborate with young people and educate communities about music in diverse settings.

Josie Davis, a violinist with Palaver Strings, stressed how the process of learning music as an individual can be very isolating.

“Our goal in Palaver, and partnering with Rachel, is to try to excite students by the possibilities that can come when you collaborate and really form friendships through music making as a group and that’s something we in Palaver do,” Davis said.

Derrick Spiva Jr., composer and the artistic director of SCVYO, is working with Iba and SCVYO to create a new ensemble called Novae Sinfonia, a youth orchestra model that is devoted to incorporating not only classical music but contemporary and world music.

“This type of classical crossover, in addition to standard repertoire, and that particular youth orchestra model is something that is not explored as often or not at all,” Spiva said.

Their goal is to start building an awareness of the bridges that can be built for younger kids who don’t have a chance to interact with certain types of music, as well as bring more exposure to this form of music to the Santa Clarita Valley, Spiva Jr. said.  

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