By Allison Pari
The Santa Clarita Valley Youth Orchestra, along with the Prelude Strings & Winds and the Symphony of the Canyons will be performing on April 21 at the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center, in a Classical and Romantic Masterworks Concert, with “an exciting mix of compositions both wonderfully familiar and excitingly new.”
The SCVYO began 25 years ago, envisioned “as a gathering of talented youth who, through exposure to expert instruction, musical knowledge, and ethnic diversity acquire a love of beauty, learn to pursue excellence, demonstrate personal growth as musicians, and enrich the cultural life of our community,” according to their website, scvyo.org.
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Recently, the Santa Clarita Youth Orchestra Foundation petitioned the William S. Hart School District to allow students in the SCVYO to receive high school fine arts credit for participation. As students prepare to apply for college, fine arts credits on their transcripts are beneficial, even for those who don’t intend to pursue a music career.
Some join the orchestra just for fun, but as SCVYO Foundation Chair, Peggy Cannistraci said, “I feel that getting the school district’s blessing is very important. Our youth orchestra program is not only fun for the students, but it provides a valid musical education.” Music Director Dr. Paul Sherman added that the SCVYO and Prelude Strings were the starting point for many students who later went to renowned schools like Julliard, Harvard, MIT, USC and UCLA.
Sherman, professor at Chapman University and professional oboist, is assisted by professional musicians Damian Berdakin (bass) and Julissa Bozman (violin). Music graduate students from California Institute of the Arts also come to share their knowledge with the SCVYO participants.
“Our orchestra program is unique… it’s really about the process rather than the competition,” commented Sherman. “Every moment of the rehearsal is about learning something about music and finding out how to work with other people—getting along. All the students can’t compete for concert master. I’m not so interested in a challenge for chairs—it could turn students against each other. Instead, I go for quality and strength all the way through the orchestra.”
The upcoming concert begins at 7:00pm on Saturday, April 21. Tickets start at $5. For more information visit http://www.canyons.edu/offices/pio/canyonspac/orchestras.html .