The Valley Youth Philharmonic Orchestra ,VYPO, is a program that has been bringing together talented teens from around Los Angeles for nearly a decade. The conductor for the program is Henry Shin, who works alongside the founder and manager, Jackie Koo, as well as many instrument coaches. VYPO currently consists of numerous instruments including violins, cellos, flutes, oboes, percussion, and many more.
In recent years VYPO has grown in size and recognition throughout the greater Los Angeles area. This was apparent at the VYPO’s 2019 Winter Concert, which was their last pre-quarantine show. Hundreds of people were in attendance, including Los Angeles City Councilmember John Lee. The program included pieces such as”The Barber of Seville Overture” (Rossini), “Libertango” (Piazzolla), “Danse Bacchanale” (Saint-Saens), and holiday arrangements like “The Polar Express” and “The Phantom of the Opera.” Considering the fact that the orchestra consisted of musicians as young as 12, the program was incredibly successful.
This year’s VYPO Winter Concert was held December 20, 2020, and was the culmination of months of hard work and efforts to adapt to changing circumstances. Like many other activities, VYPO shifted online for the health and safety of the community. During pre-COVID times, the orchestra rehearsed together at the In-Christ Community Church in Porter Ranch. Moving online was brand new for the program and took time to get used to. To adapt to the new online circumstances, each section of the orchestra practiced separately. Each instrument group practiced with their respective coaches in Zoom breakout rooms. The orchestra rehearsed separately for the entirety of the season, and the concert was a result of video and audio editing.
To achieve the sound and cohesiveness of an actual orchestra, this year’s concert had to be pre-recorded individually. Each musician played their part of each piece and submitted them for compilation into one video. This year’s program included an arrangement of Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer, “Peach Fuzz” (a percussion piece), and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 (in honor of Beethoven’s 250th anniversary). Due to the length of editing needed to put the concert together, the program this year was much shorter than those of previous years.
The actual concert was live streamed on YouTube and was able to be viewed by people in their homes. Family members and friends that would not have been able to watch the concert otherwise were able to view the show through the internet. Comments from people watching included, “Thank You all for what had to be a great deal of hard work – really bringing some Joy through Music this Holiday Season!”, “Wow, Wonderful! Great Job and triumphant from Pandemic! Congratulations!”, and “Bravo, VYPO musicians! Beautiful concert.” As a result of the hard work from the conductor, coaches, musicians and editors, the concert was a great success and was able to bring joy to thousands of people during the pandemic.