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Volume 1, Issue 1 August 2009

New Chamber Music Programs at YOBC Inside this issue: Student Spotlight: Kevyn DeWees


Conductors’ Notes: A Change of Rhythm


YOBC DVD Coming Soon


Alumni News: YOBC


Notes from the Executive Director: The Magic of Music


Volunteer Opportunities for YOBC Students


Important Dates: ∗ MANDATORY FALL ORIENTATION on Saturday, September 12, 2009 for ALL NEW STUDENTS and all students who have just moved up to the ADVANCED DIVISION (Symphony or Wind Ensemble) this year. ∗ MANDATORY SEATING AUDITIONS, Saturday, September 12th, for all Wind Ensemble Students. Sign up now for a time via email with Mr. Sweetsir: ∗ First rehearsals: Sunday, September 13, 2009 ∗ Parents’ Meetings: Sunday, September 20, 2009

This year the Youth Ortion of Nicole Lambert. chestra of Bucks County is Nicole studied flute and introducing several new received a Masters degree ensembles to help meet the in performance from Lamusical needs of the area’s val University in Quebec. students. Our first new She has played with sevgroup is Prima Strings, a eral orchestras and, in string ensemble for stuaddition to her work with dents in grades 3–6 who the Southampton Chaminclude all types of percushave been playing for at ber Music Society, is cursion instruments. This enleast one year. Under the rently active as a soloist semble’s members include baton of Molly Jensen, and teacher. percussion students in the YOBC’s Concertino conFinally, Percussion EnIntermediate and Adductor, the group of about semble is designed to provanced Divisions. Under 10 students will work on vide an exciting and chalthe direction of Joe D’Alinew and challenging mulenging performance oppor- candro, Percussion Specialsic as well as learning tunity for advanced percus- ist for the Pennsbury how to work together in sion students. This unique School District, the Percusan orchestra. ensemble will perform a sion Ensemble will perform Two new flute groups variety of unusual and in“Boom Whap” at the fall have also been added to the teresting music and will concert. YOBC family of ensembles. The Flute Choir with about 10 members is for Intermediate Division flutists; the Chamber Flute Ensemble is made up of about a dozen Advanced Division flutists. Our goal is to develop this group of talented flutists into the premier flute group in the area. In May 2009 students in YOBC’s Advanced Division traveled to New York The flute enCity to perform at St. Paul the Apostle Church. They then attended the sembles will be Broadway revival of West Side Story at the Palace Theatre. under the direc-



potlight: Kevyn DeWees

When auditions were held in the spring for YOBC’s 2009-10 season, we auditioned a number of students for our new ensemble, Prima Strings. The first Prima Strings candidate to be accepted for our new junior ensemble was violinist Kevyn DeWees. Kevyn will be a fourth grader at Bryn Athyn Church School in Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania. She has been playing violin for about two years. She takes lessons from Rachel Brandt who provides lessons during the school day. Ms. Brandt recommended that Kevyn audition for our new ensemble. It was not the first time Kevyn’s family heard about YOBC. Their friends and neighbors

are former YOBC students. Kevyn has played violin in her school orchestra and in small groups for school programs and at church. She says her audition was “really easy,” and she thought that the people were very welcoming and friendly. . Kevyn will be joined in Prima Strings by seven other violinists as well as a young cellist and bassist. She says she is looking forward to beginning rehearsals at YOBC where she hopes to meet new people like her, who also love to play music. Prima Strings will have their first concert in November with the junior division. We look forward to hearing Kevyn and her new friends.

Conductors’ Notes: A Change in Rhythm Hi everyone! I hope you are well ton Symphony Orchestra), I was and enjoying, by this time, a disable to attend a rehearsal of Joshua tinct diversion from your academic Bell with the BSO. Even with peryear routine. I know, for a fact, that forming the Bruch G minor Conyour YOBC conductors are. Alcerto countless times throughout though, I must his solo career, he admit, in the still demonstrated past few an amazing Have fun exploring a new weeks they amount of musical freshness and spontaneity in freshness on a have been preparing for the summer Saturday your music making! fall semester morning in the by reviewing Berkshires. The personnel rosenergy that he ters and carefully choosing engagprojected was picked up by the Bosing repertoire for you to rehearse ton Symphony and then the conducand perform. As you receive your tor, soloist, and orchestra became a music, have fun learning to play it combined creative entity. with confidence. Be comfortable This summer, go hear live muwith the phrases on your page. It’s sic being performed, play chamber great fun to reach that stage in mumusic with friends, listen critically sical preparation. It, then, enables to something different … enjoy your you to inspire others around you change in rhythm. Have fun explorwith your freshness and spontaneing a new freshness and spontaneity. ity in your music making! —Robert Loughran This past weekend at TangleYOBC Music Director wood (the summer home of the BosPage 2

Kevyn DeWees is YOBC’s first Prima Strings Student

YOBC DVD Coming Soon If you were a member of any of YOBC’s ensembles last season, no doubt you saw Jim Nowicki and his video camera at your ensemble rehearsal, sectional, backstage at a dress rehearsal or at the concerts. Jim is the father of Symphony violinist Lauren Nowicki and a volunteer who has been videotaping our concerts for the last few years. Recently we approached Jim about creating a promotional DVD for YOBC. We wanted a short video to show people what YOBC is all about. We plan to use the video to promote YOBC with prospective new members, their teachers and parents, and eventually for potential donors After consulting with a focus group made up of YOBC students, we created a story line and interviewed about 15 current and graduating members of our organization. We hope the video will be complete by the end of 2009. Look for more information and links to the video on our website.


Alumni News YOBC to Mark 20th Anniversary In 2011, The Youth Orchestra of Bucks County will mark the 20th Anniversary of its creation and plans are under way for a big celebration. We will celebrate the mission, history, accomplishments, and unique culture of our organizati on. The highlight of our event will feature an alumni reunion and provide performance opportunities for returning and former students, including side-by-side performances with our current members. The Alumni Committee on YOBC’s Board of Directors is working on final arrangements for the date, which we

expect to be early June 2011 and the venue which we hope will be at The College of New Jersey in Ewing, NJ. If you are interested in helping the committee with their plans please contact Eileen Wachtman at The Alumni Committee is currently reaching out to alumni from the last 20 years. We have a page on our website for alumni news and hope to create a forum for old friends to reconnect. This page of the newsletter is also reserved for alumni news and we

welcome your suggestions and submissions. Watch our website for news and updates about upcoming events.

Notes from the Executive Director: The Magic of Music I began middle school summer music camp as a member of the same social subclass where I usually found myself...close to the bottom. No one was even aware that I existed…and that was just fine with me. As usual, I floated around seemingly unaware of other groups of chatty kids, impressing each other with their natural grasp of how to appear cool and confident. Not me. My experience in life thus far had convinced me that those two adjectives would never apply to me. None of the students at the camp had ever played instruments before, but I already knew the end of the story. We would all be given shiny new instruments and a few intolerable lessons. Within minutes, the other students would sound like virtual virtuosos and I would sound …very, very bad. Funny thing was, that isn’t how it worked out at all. We got the shiny new instruments, but as the teacher explained what to do, it somehow made sense to me. We were all learning trumpet that day and as each student put the instrument to his or her lips worse Volume 1, Issue 1

sounds than you could ever imagine emerged from the bells. Sputters! Ghastly sounds reminiscent of an explosion of flatulence! Sad, sickly, slimy sounds swirled around the room. My turn. Slowly, I lifted the instrument to my mouth, closed my eyes, and blew into the mouthpiece, waiting for the inevitable horror of a sound that would emerge. Inexplicably, unbelievably, the most beautiful sound I had ever heard filled my ears! I thought I had hallucinated the sound! Of course, it wasn’t really beautiful, but to me, and the rest of the students in that hot, damp room, it was…music! I held that note as long as I could, savoring the sweet sound and hoping it would never end. But within seconds, it did end because I ran out of breath. I opened my eyes and saw the stunned gazes of the other students. “How did you do that?” “You sounded great!” “Show me what you just did!” My classmates crowded around me, amazed at my talent, asking for my help. What was happening? And then, just like that, I was transformed from a nobody who

couldn’t do anything worth noticing to someone everyone wanted to know. I was the music camp superstar. I, who had never achieved noticeability before in my life, was now looked upon as being…amazing. That was my magic moment. My turning point. I had found myself. Music was a magical world of beauty and sound and I fell in love with it. I took lessons. I practiced almost every day. I listened to music. I studied music and I kept getting better. I never did get to be a music superstar, but I found something even better…the magic of music. I’ve always hung on to the magic music brought to my life that first day of summer music camp. Now, as I find myself on the teaching end of music, I watch for those magical moments in my students. For some, music is one of an endless number of activities students engage in. But for others, it is a magical thing that teaches us about ourselves and the beauty we are capable of making. —Colleen Sweetsir YOBC Executive Director Page 3


252 Hollow Branch Lane Yardley, PA 19067 Phone: 215-589-8668 Email:

The YOUTH ORCHESTRA OF BUCKS COUNTY, Pennsylvania (YO BC) was founded in 1991 with the sponsorsh ip and support of Bucks County Community College. Its mission is to provide talented you ng musicians in the northern suburban are as of Philadelphia with an advanced classical musical experience to augment their school mu sic programs. In 18 seasons the organization has grown from a single, 60-member ensemble to nine ensembles with nearly 200 young musicians.

More than music; more than musicians!

Volunteer Opportunities for YOBC Students Although recently YOBC has added some full and part-time staff to its organization, for most of our 18-year history we have been a volunteerrun organization. Volunteers continue to be crucial to all of our operations. However opportunities are not just for parents—there are many ways students can give back to YOBC. If you have a volunteer or community service requirement for school or National Honor Society or Boy or Girl Scouts or other community groups—or if you just like to give back to your community— consider ways you can help YOBC. For example, this summer, Nicole Dreyer, a bass clarinetist for the Wind Ensemble and Symphony, has been helping Colleen Sweetsir prepare and organize the YOBC music library. Last spring, during our auditions for new students, over half a dozen students came to help Page 4

register new applicants and shuttle them down to warm-up and audition rooms. These volunteers helped keep the auditions moving smoothly and provided a friendly face to stu-

Name this newsletter for a chance to win two free movie tickets!

dents who were nervously awaiting their first auditions. Another way to help is for Intermediate or Advanced Division students to help tune Concertino and Prima Strings students before their rehearsals. There are many other ways to volunteer at YOBC. Please speak to your ensemble liaison about other opportunities or ways to help out.

We welcome student participation. A new way to help this year is with this newsletter. Start by entering our Name This Newsletter Contest for a chance to win two free movie tickets. The deadline for your ideas is November 1. This is the first edition of what we expect will be a quarterly publication. We would love to have your input to make this interesting and valuable to our students. We welcome your input as writers, photographers, or just suggesting ideas for articles. If you take pictures at YOBC rehearsals, please consider sending them to for possible inclusion in upcoming issues. We would also like to invite students to write the Student Spotlight features or any other stories of interest. Please contact Diana Nolan at the above email for all submissions and more information.

Keeping Tempo August 2009  

YOBC's Quarterly Newsletter

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