Sometimes their feet don’t yet touch the floor. Sometimes the music lifts them out of their chairs. Always they show precision and heart.
The Sacramento Youth Symphony presented its culminating concert on Saturday, July 16th at Sacramento State University. The concert came after a series of workshops where students ages 7-19 honed their skills in chamber and orchestral music.
“The workshop offers an intensive week of ensemble playing, including individualized coaching with professionals in the performance field,” said Susan Lamb Cook, the program’s director. The students then go on to perform throughout the year in the Sacramento area. They are available for community service and non-profit organizations.
All the individualized coaching paid off as participants unveiled their chamber skills in pieces ranging from Vivaldi to Mozart to Shostakovich.
The concert then moved to orchestral pieces, conducted by Todd Montemayor. Teaching in San Bernadino, Montemayor is part of Create California, a movement to “foster a Renaissance in arts education.”
That commitment to arts showed throughout the evening and especially in the dramatic pieces for piano for four and six hands. In a piece for four hands, two performers share the piano. When it is for six hands, three musicians crowd around one instrument. These performers chose “Waltz” by Sergei Rachmaninoff.
At times the musicians were so connected to the music, their blinking coincided with the work. They seemed to become the piano.
The wind ensemble. conducted by Alice Lenaghan, followed with more modern pieces that challenged the students with their jazz elements. Ostinato 4mulato by Russell Stokes snaked through the auditorium before the whole ensemble took the stage. The group returned to more classic pieces from Edvard Grieg and Georg Frederic Handel conducted by Hermes Camacho. He is involved with a youth based music program that works with underserved youth in Austin, Texas.
In its 27th year, it is clear that the Chamber Music Workshop continues to attract talented, committed musicians who are, as Cook said, “the students who are going to make the world a better place.”