O.C. Youth Symphony Orchestra to sound off
The Chapman University youth orchestra in residence is over 40 years young.
Since it’s inception in the 1970s, Orange County Youth Symphony Orchestra has partnered with the university, featuring young people ranging from eighth-graders to college freshmen.
The orchestra is 85 members strong, made up of kids mainly from Orange County, with some from Los Angeles and the Inland Empire, said Daniel Alfred Wachs, the group’s conductor.
The group is heading overseas this summer to perform in the United Kingdom, but not before performing its spring concert on the home stage May 19.
“This performance is a preview or a bon voyage, depending on how you look at it. Some of the students, this will be their last year with us and this is their farewell tour before they go on to other things,” Wachs said. “Every four to six years we travel overseas, so for others this is their last chance to perform at home before going overseas.”
The youngest performer in the orchestra this year is 14. In some exceptional cases, the youngest age has been 13.
“These kids are overachievers in the best way possible,” said Wachs.
The O.C. Youth Symphony Orchestra is a training ground for the rest of their musical, professional lives, Wachs said.
Some alumni of the orchestra include Emil de Cou, associate conductor of National Symphony Orchestra and David Whitehill, executive director of Bangor Symphony Orchestra in Maine.
The orchestra’s feature performance piece at its May 19 concert will be the Candide Suite by Leonard Bernstein and Scheherazade by Rimsky Korsakov.
“It behooves us to take an American work with us. I wanted to do something different. The first thought was to perform part of West Side Story. But everyone does West Side Story,” said Wachs. “Then I thought, why not Candide? An American composer took a piece of French literature and turned it into an American opera. I thought, my gosh, that’s perfect!”
– OC Register, May 9, 2013