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'Tea and Talent' offers a fun mix
Annual fundraiser for Yuba Sutter Youth Symphony set for today
'Tea and Talent'
TIME: 3 p.m. today
WHERE: River Valley High School, multipurpose room, 801 El Margarita Road, Yuba City
COST: Free admission; donations accepted
The Yuba Sutter Youth Symphony will present its second annual "Tea and Talent" fundraiser at 3 p.m. today at River Valley High School.
Unlike a standard concert, "Tea and Talent" will feature small groups of the young musicians performing chamber arrangements of a wide variety of music, ranging from Mozart and Pachelbel to pop tunes and holiday standards, said YSYS board president Helen Graham.
"This is a really nice, intimate kind of concert where the audience can see the youth symphony members close up and hear them play individually," Graham said.
The seven chamber groups were coached by Graham; YSYS board vice president Ingrid Gaston; YSYS board members Christy Estabrook, Rebekah Hood, James Lohman and Jan Roberts-Haydon; and orchestra member Katherine McLain.
"We have a brass trio, some string quartets, one cello choir and one violin ensemble, so it's a wide range," Graham said.
"We have been coaching them, but they have also been given some rehearsal time without a coach, so they are learning how to coach themselves and how to perform in a small group. It's much harder for them," Graham said.
"Chamber music is a real valuable part of classical music, which is played with one musician per part, so the pressure is very different. They have to know their part cold," Roberts-Haydon said.
"And it's also different because there is no conductor. They have to look at each other for cues and have to really work together," she added.
"The kids really enjoy playing in these small groups," Gaston said. "Our goal was to let the kids get to know each other and also play in a small group where each person has a different part. It makes them independent at reading music and not just following someone else. So this is musically very good for them."
Lohman, who formerly conducted the youth symphony, said McLain, one of the youth orchestra's most senior members, in addition to performing with and co-coaching two chamber groups also arranged a "Brass Trio Medley" of pop songs that will be performed.
"In the chamber group that they placed us in, there are only three brass players: a trumpet, a tuba and a French horn. And there really is not music written for that kind of brass trio. We wouldn't have been able to find music without transposing one of the parts.
At our first rehearsal, the other two brass players were playing around with some pop pieces that they knew, and I said, 'You know what? I'm going to try to put a few of these together.' It's the first thing that I've arranged, so it's not professional quality, but I think it sounds pretty cool," McLain said.
"She is a very talented young lady. The professionalism that she displayed at a young age was really impressive, and she is very passionate about her craft. It's really neat to see somebody develop passion for music so young and blossom as a musician," Lohman said.
McLain said she joined the youth symphony as a violin player in its second year. She later added French horn to her repertoire and has played both instruments in the same concert. Now a student at Yuba College, McLain said she hopes eventually to transfer to CalPoly San Luis Obispo to complete her degree in music performance with French horn.
To other music students, McLain advised: "Take lessons, take lessons, take lessons. You really don't know the value of it until you do it."
Accompanied with high praise for all of her teachers past and present, McLain said, "Once you start taking lessons, you learn the technique that allows you to make the gorgeous music that you never thought that you, personally, would ever be able to make. If it wasn't for them, I wouldn't be able to do what I can do today."
Today's event will include a selection of teas, coffee and food as well as a raffle of prizes donated by local businesses, Roberts-Haydon said.
In a fun nod to the proper, traditional British tea time, "We are encouraging people to wear hats to the tea," she added.
"This concert will be a fun mix of holiday tunes and classical chamber music showcasing our young artists," Graham said.
"It's just a fun event and not as formal as a regular concert," Gaston said.