Free spring concert features variety of pieces
Charles County Youth Orchestra to host spring concert Sunday
Spring is here and music is in the air with the Charles County Youth Orchestra preparing to perform its Spring 2016 Concert.
The concert is free to the public and will take place Sunday at 3:30 p.m. at Westlake High School, 3300 Middletown Road, Waldorf.
“They are all so motivated, so excited,” orchestra director Anne Marie Patterson said of the performers. “It is so rewarding to see, not only the work they put in at home, but the dedication of coming here and rehearsing week after week.”
Patterson took over as director of the youth orchestra four years ago. Since then, the orchestra has nearly doubled in size, with close to 50 students, mostly high schoolers, performing.
Membership in the youth orchestra is by audition, and includes students from all parts of the county.
The youth orchestra will perform a number of selections, including Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony, Allegretto and the Ruslan and Lyudmila Overture by Mikhail Glinka.
“Another piece we’re playing is Video Games Live, and honestly, some of the kids had tears in their eyes when we played it for the first time. They were so excited to play this music,” Patterson said.
Video Games Live is a concert series consisting of video game music, including Halo, Civilization IV, Bounty Hunter and Kingdom Hearts, performed by a live orchestra.
Two other groups, Encore Strings and Encore Band, exist for students not yet ready for the orchestra, mostly middle school performers. They will also be performing several pieces during the spring concert.
“Just this year we started Encore Band. This is a new ensemble because I was seeing the Encore String kids being trained well and moving up and excited to play in CCYO, but I was always trying to draw from the schools to get band players,” Patterson said.
Alyssa Raqueno, 17, a senior at North Point High School, is the orchestra’s concertmistress, that is, the leader of the first violin section, the conductor’s right hand — or left hand, as the concertmaster or -mistress sits closest to the conductor on the left.
“I have to give the cues, and also help prepare the orchestra before they perform,” Raqueno said.
Raqueno will also be performing the DeBeriot Violin Concerto, which Patterson said is very challenging.
Raqueno has been with the orchestra four years; this will be her last concert with the orchestra. She said she enjoys the challenge of playing in the youth orchestra.
“The music we play in school isn’t as hard as in CCYO. In CCYO, everyone performs at a different range, but it’s generally higher than what you’ll find in high school,” Raqueno said.
Anthony Richardson, 16, a junior at St. Charles High School, is a cellist in the orchestra.
“It was harder music than I’ve ever played before; I had some trouble adjusting to it when I came in,” Richardson said. “But I’ve learned a lot, sort of trial by fire, I’ve improved as a player.”
Richardson said that one of the best parts of being in the youth orchestra was being part of a greater whole.
“There are some moments where everyone’s playing and it’s gigantic; it’s like you’re in this sea of sound, and it’s really cool,” Richardson said.
Anne Marie Patterson conducts the Charles County Youth Orchestra during rehearsals Tuesday evening. The youth orchestra will perform its free spring concert Sunday at Westlake High School.
Concertmistress Alyssa Raqueno, a senior at North Point High School, rehearses Tuesday. The Charles County Youth Orchestra will hold its free spring concert Sunday at Westlake High School.