Springfield Youth Symphony's Spring Concert

Apr 29, 2016

The Springfield Youth Symphony, Springfield Public Schools' orchestral ensemble for high school students, plays their spring concert on May 3rd.
Credit (Photo courtesy Springfield Youth Symphony)

The Springfield Youth Symphony is sponsored financially by the Springfield Public Schools and supported by The Friends of the Springfield Youth Symphony, a parent booster organization. Since its founding in 1957, the Springfield Youth Symphony has provided outstanding young musicians with an opportunity to study and perform the standard orchestral repertoire. Members range in age from 14 to 18 and are auditioned from the Springfield Public Schools and the surrounding communities.  The second Youth Symphony concert of the season is Tuesday May 3rd at 7:30pm in the Glendale High School auditorium, 2727 S. Ingram Mill Road.

The orchestra's conductor, Andy Johnston, actually wears several different musical hats within the Springfield Public School system: he's also the Orchestra Director at Glendale High School, and he teaches beginning 5th-grade strings at four elementary schools. "And I moonlight as the Orchestra Director at Southwest Baptist University as well."  He says the Youth Symphony is actually one of three youth orchestras sponsored by Springfield Public Schools.  It's "an honors orchestra that is designed to supplement the normal orchestral curriculum" in the school systerm.

The concert on May 3rd will be a full one for sure.  In addition to Brahms' Academic Festival Overture, Andy Johnston says "the main feature of the concert will be the three winners of the Youth Talent Auditions" concerto competition, held on February 6 at Glendale High School. "We have Wade Forrest playing the Eric Ewazen Marimba Concerto, and we have Ashley Raleigh playing the third movement of the (Edward) MacDowell 2nd Piano Concerto."

The MacDowell concerto is somewhat familiar, but Andy Johnston calls the Marimba Concerto by American composer Eric Ewazen (b.1954) "an amazing piece.  And I remember one of the judges at the concerto competition writing on Wade (Forrest)'s comment sheet, 'You aren't supposed to be able to play this when you're in high school!' So Wade's doing an amazing job with that."

Also on the program, the first and last sections of Rimsky-Korsakov's popular Capriccio Espagnol, led by Springfield Youth Symphony Assistant Conductor Carla Wooten; and music from John's Williams' score for the film Revenge of the Sith from the Star Wars series. There was also a third winner from the Youth Symphony's Youth Talent Auditions in the composition category: Glendale sophomore Carr Jones.  The Youth Symphony will play the premiere performance of his Waltz No.1 for Orchestra.

Tickets for adults are $5.00 and children 12th grade and under are admitted free of charge, and they can be purchased at the door on May 3rd. For more information email conductor Andy Johnston at ajohnston443@spsmail.org or call (417) 523-8982. The orchestra's website is http://springfieldyouthsymphony.com.