Thursday, March 13, 2014

Glendale Youth Orchestra Performs like Pros by Robert Kerr

Last Sunday night I had the good fortune to attend a performance of the Glendale Youth Orchestra at the Alex Theatre. It was a last minute invite, but going to the Alex is always a treat. I usually go to this venue to see movies, (they have a Three Stooges marathon every Thanksgiving weekend), but this was the first live show I was seeing there and my interest was definitely piqued. 

As a former band member in high school, I figured at the worst I was in for a nostalgic evening. The audience was like I remembered: mostly family members of the kids playing in attendance. There was a familiar row of video cameras set up in the back row to record the performance (although video cameras have gotten a lot smaller since I was in school).

As soon as they played the first note I knew was no longer at a kids concert. It was incredible how good they were. If these kids aren't already playing at a professional level they are well on their way. The program consisted of Bellini's Overture to Norma and Beethoven's Concerto for Violin, op61 (with Sarah Worden performing the violin solos in this piece). As impressive as the first half of the show was, the second half was the most fun I've had at a live music performance in a long time. They showed Charlie Chaplin's 1916 film The Rink, while the Glendale Youth Orchestra performed the score to the film that was written in 2008 by Carl Davis. As impressive as they were in the first half of the show, they now had to play with the distraction of an audience laughing at this very funny movie, and they were every bit as professional as when the audience was quiet.

The Glendale Youth Orchestra are celebrating their 25th Anniversary. Their members come from all over the L.A. area. As schools across the country have made cuts to the arts, particularly music programs, we're lucky to have an organization that helps our youth hone their talent for music and develop a lifelong appreciation of it. 

Their next performance at the Alex will be for their season finale on Sunday, May 18 at 7:00 P.M.

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