On November 24th, the GYO, Glendale Youth Orchestra, had their very first concert of their 31st season. The concert was performed at the Alex Theatre, located in Glendale. As it was GYO’s first concert with their new conductor, Harry Shin, many people were eager and excited to watch and listen to the amazing youth orchestra’s music. Different from the past seasons, the orchestra decided to make the event a free concert, this way everyone could enjoy without paying. This decision caused the entire theatre to be filled, all the way to the balcony.
First, the GYO performed a piece of music titled “Nabucco”, by Giuseppe Verdi. The song featured powerful playing by the percussion section, and several solos from the wind and brass instruments. Some of the instruments that played a solo were the clarinet, bassoon, and oboe. It was not only the solos that captured the audience’s ears, but also the fast and lively style of the music. The beginning of the piece started out slow and gentle, and then the conductor quickly directed the orchestra and pulled them up to a greater and faster speed. Seeing a youth orchestra performing these difficult temp changes and rhythms was shocking to many of the members of the audience
The second composition the orchestra performed was a bit different than what people would expect from a classical orchestra. The GYO showcased “Star Wars: The Force Awakens Suite” by the very famous composer, John
Williams. Although it might have been a little risky to have an orchestra who is sued to playing classical music perform an arrangement that is technically pop, it was a great hit. It was probably the highlight of the whole performance. Due to most everyone knowing the familiar melodies and rhythms, it was easier for the audience to connect with the orchestra performing the music. Nate Dodder, who loves Star Wars movies, commented, “I was very impressed by the quality of the music that the orchestra presented. I had no idea that it would sound like the music from the movie.”
The final piece that the orchestra prepared was Dvorak’s Symphony No.9 in E minor. This composition by Dvorak is a humongous piece of music that can get very tiring for musicians of a young age. It usually takes about forty-five minutes to complete the whole symphony. However, despite young musicians playing, it definitely did not sound like a youth orchestra. Starting from the opening of the first of the four movements, the audience could sense the maturity and professionalism in the young musicians. Not only did they not make any mistakes, but their emotions and feelings while playing could be felt as well. Instead of boring the audience, which is what usually happens during a long symphony like this, the GYO shocked the audience. Throughout every movement there was great detail and clarity like you would see in a professional orchestra like the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Even though every movement was performed well, no matter what, the last movement had the strongest reaction. With the familiar melody everyone has heard of at least once in their lifetime, at the end, the GYO received a standing ovation. The applause and cheer put a smile on all the musicians’ faces.
Thinking the symphony was the last piece, people were about to leave, but then the orchestra started playing a festive, Christmas song called “Sleigh Ride” by Leroy Anderson as a surprise for the audience. This song led everyone to start getting in the spirit of the holiday season. After finishing their actual last piece, the orchestra wished everyone a happy holiday and left the stage with smiles on their faces.
The GYO finished their first concert of the year and will start preparing for their next concert in March. Hoping for another great performance, they will continue to practice and work hard until they become the best.
Rosalia Park, Grade 9
Crescenta Valley High School