Songs of spring: Music in the Mountains Youth Orchestra to perform French compositions in Nevada City | TheUnion.com

Songs of spring: Music in the Mountains Youth Orchestra to perform French compositions in Nevada City

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The Youth Orchestra from Music in the Mountains is an after-school symphony orchestra program for string, brass, woodwind, and percussion players from age 8-20.

The Music in the Mountains Youth Orchestra celebrates the coming of spring with a program of French music performed by some of Nevada County's most talented young musicians, Thursday, March 22, at the historic Nevada Theatre in Nevada City.

Conductor Wayland Whitney calls the program "Printemps Français" or French Spring, and it features the music of five different French composers. There's the haunting "Pavane" by Gabriel Fauré, contrasted with the exotic "Danse Bacchanale" from Camille Saint Saëns opera "Samson and Delilah" — music that brings to mind a mysterious snake charmer at its onset.

A French program wouldn't be complete without some impressionistic music by Claude Debussy. "The Engulfed Cathedral" (La cathédrale engloutie) draws upon the myth of a cathedral submerged underwater, slowly rising from the sea on a clear morning.

The program continues with the music of another famed French composer, Maurice Ravel. The orchestra will play two selections from his "Mother Goose Suite" (Ma Mère l'Oye) — "Pavane" for a Sleeping Beauty, followed by "Fairy Garden," bringing a happy ending to the story as the sleeping beauty is awakened.

The final French number is more contemporary: an orchestral version of "You Must Believe in Spring" by Michel Legrand — a dreamy love song that becomes rather jazzy as it progresses; a song sung by such notables as Tony Bennett and Barbra Streisand.

Prior to the formal French program, assistant conductor Sage Po will lead the newly formed intermediate orchestra in a couple of lively numbers. "Tango and Cha Cha" by D.R. Bellwood and a piece called "Groovin' Strings" by Angela Harman, which includes stomping and clapping to add to the fun.

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The Youth Orchestra is part of Music in the Mountains' extensive music education program. Music in the Mountains is the largest provider of music education in Nevada County that also includes the Young Composers Project, Carnegie Linkup, and much more.

The Youth Orchestra is an after-school symphony orchestra program for string, woodwind, brass, and percussion players ages 8-21. The season runs from mid-September through the end of May, divided into trimester concert sets; new players may join at the beginning of a new trimester (September, January, and late March). Our musicians work on classical repertoire in weekly rehearsals and give three public concerts, all in a friendly, nurturing environment.

There are two groups: Advanced Symphony Orchestra, which meets Mondays, and Intermediate Orchestra, which meets Wednesdays. Prospective members should be able to read music, and string players should be between Suzuki books 3 and 5.

Currently, Music in the Mountains Youth Orchestra is made up of musicians from Grass Valley, Nevada City, Penn Valley, Auburn, and other surrounding areas.

KNOW & GO

WHO: Music in the Mountains Youth Orchestra

WHAT: Orchestral Concert — A French Musical Spring

WHEN: Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the concert starts at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 22, with a reception to follow

WHERE: Nevada Theatre. 401 Broad Street, Nevada City

TICKETS: Adults $12, Students under 18 free. Available at door or by calling the box office to reserve at 530-265-6124

INFO: Visit http://www.musicinthemountains.org for more information