On Sunday, November 18, the Louisville Youth Orchestra  performed a concert entitled “Finding Freedom.” May I just say we have some very skilled, uniquely talented youth in our midst? My daughter and I were in attendance at the first concert of the season and I was very impressed. My daughter has been learning to play the violin, so having her in attendance with me really brought to life for her goals she can work towards if she continues to play and practice. Before the show began, Executive Director Melody Welsh-Buchholz spoke to the audience and thanked all of the sponsors who help make the LYO a success. LYO is completely run by scholarships and sponsorships, including fundraising organizations such as Fund for the Arts, companies like UPS, and a vast number of parent sponsors, among many others. A spokesperson from the Fund for the Arts spoke about the web-based platform power2give.org , an online opportunity for philanthropic giving. Visit the site to give to active projects throughout Kentucky and Southern Indiana.
The Louisville Youth Orchestra was founded in 1958 and is in its 54th season. It is one of the oldest operating youth orchestras in the country. The LYO began after a six week summer program led by the Louisville Academy of Music. It has withstood decades of economic downturn, social city changes and varying opinions of the value of the arts, and remained a valiant vessel upon which our youth sail toward their musical goals. It has been known by many names including Academy Youth Orchestra, the County Youth Orchestra, the All-County Youth Orchestra, and the Louisville-Jefferson County Youth Orchestra. Finally, it returned to its originality and settled on its 1960 name of incorporation, the Louisville Youth Orchestra. The LYO has also played in many a venue, including such Louisville landmarks as the old Academy on York Street, the Shrine Temple, the Columbia (now Spalding) Auditorium, the old Armory (now Louisville Gardens), the Louisville Convention Center, Atherton High School, and most recently, the outstanding theater space in the Youth Performing Arts School. It is obvious that Louisville residents take their appreciation for the arts seriously. It is even more encouraging to see how well this city responds to youthful musicians who have dreams of playing, improving, and having an outlet to express their talent.
After the opening remarks of this past weekend’s concert, Music Director Jason Seber spoke about the concert titles. This year they are using alliteration in all of their titles, and “Finding Freedom” was inspired by how music has touched our nation’s as well as the entire world’s history. Students performed pieces written during the French and Russian Revolutions, in times of turmoil for many. Adagietto, a piece that was written by Gustav Mahler was remarkably beautiful; he wrote it as a love story began between him and the woman he very quickly married after she wept upon hearing it. I really enjoyed listening to the history behind each piece.
The afternoon began with the concert orchestra, led by conductor Chris Lerner. The concert orchestra is a group for younger string players which played three pieces. Following was the percussion ensemble, led by Coach Mark Tate. Pieces included Peter and the Wolf and Love for Three Oranges written by Serge Prokofiev and Procession of the Nobles written by Nickolai Rimsky-Korsakov. After the intermission, the repertory and symphony orchestras played, led by conductor Fred Speck and Music Director/Conductor Jason Seber, respectively. These two are the most accomplished orchestras for the LYO.
Students who comprise the Louisville Youth Orchestra come from 15 counties in the Kentuckiana region; the orchestra is made up of 300 members. These young musicians put a tremendous amount of effort into their practices and it shows. To be considered for an audition to membership to LYO, one must be a musician under the age of 21. Members must participate in their school’s instrumental music program and need to be taking private music lessons. There is financial assistance available for private music lessons through scholarships to those who qualify based on need.
The next concert is a holiday concert entitled “Belles and Beaux with Bells and Bows.” It is part of the LYO Pops Series and is scheduled for Sunday, December 16, 4pm at the Youth Performing Arts School . Tickets are $15 for adults, $5 for school-age students (children under school-age are free.) Tickets can be purchased by calling 502-896-1851, check www.lyo.org  , or email firstname.lastname@example.org  for more information. The holiday concert will feature timeless classics and will be a festive performance, perfect for the holiday season.
Photo Courtesy of Louisville Youth Orchestra, Facebook