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Keeping Tempo Volume 4, Number 4, May 2013

YOBC Announces Guest Artists for 23rd Season

Inside this issue: Mark O’Connor Workshops and Concert Cap Off the YOBC Year


Conductors’ Notes: The True Challenge of Music


Student Spotlight: Stephen Hopkins


Awards for Two YOBC Students from Delaware Valley Winds


Executive Director’s Corner: Planning for Serendipity


YOBC Ensembles for Winds and Percussion


Join the Summer 2014 International Tour to Italy


Students in Concert Music Festival in Bristol


Important Dates:  

May 18–19: Auditions


June 20: Registration deadline


September 7: Orientations and Curtain-Raiser


September 8: Fall rehearsals begin

June 8: Concerto Competition

While most of the YOBC family is getting ready for summer, the artistic and administrative staff are busy finalizing plans for the upcoming year. YOBC’s 23rd season promises to be an exciting one with special guest artists and master classes by some of the country’s finest musicians. This fall, the Ying Quartet from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY will be in residency at Cairn University in Langhorne, and YOBC will be one of the local groups to work with them. The Quartet has established itself as an ensemble of the highest musical qualifications in its tours across the United States and abroad. Their performances regularly take place in many of the world’s most important concert halls, from Carne-

The Ying Quartet

gie Hall to the Sydney Opera House. At the same time, the Quartet’s belief that concert music can also be a meaningful part of everyday life has drawn the foursome to perform in settings as diverse as the workplace, schools, juvenile prisons, and the White House. Dr. Quincy Hilliard, Jr. will work with YOBC students in January. Hilliard is a composer, conductor, and educator from the University of Louisiana. He is frequently commissioned to compose works, including one for the 1996 Olympics. In 2008, he was commissioned by the Library of Congress to compose a work in celebration of the bicentennial of the birth of Abraham Lincoln. YOBC’s spring concert will feature David Kim, concertmaster of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Kim recently met YOBC cellist Eric Cyphers who inspired him to propose a collaboration with YOBC. Kim started playing the violin at the age of three, began studies with the famed pedagogue Dorothy DeLay

David Kim

at the age of eight, and later received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Juilliard School. A review of a performance noted, “The violinist has a beautiful technique – his bow and fingers are lightning quick. His tone is gorgeous and his intonation is just perfect.” All of these artists give us exciting things to look forward to in September.

Dr. Quincy Hilliard

Mark O’Connor Workshops and Concert Cap Off the YOBC Year On May 4 and 5, YOBC string students had the opportunity to work and perform with one of the world’s premier musicians, American fiddler Mark O’Connor. The master classes at BCCC and performance at Patriots Theater in the Trenton War Memorial were about creating artistic vision, broadening horizons, and inviting YOBC students to imagine musical possibilities. They were not disappointed. Mark O’Connor posted the following message on his Facebook page about the collaboration with YOBC: “Beautiful evening tonight at

Mark O’Connor’s master class with YOBC Junior Division students.

the War Memorial auditorium with a total of 250 string students on the finale with me. Concert featured my Improvised Violin Concerto, some Method Book III tunes with violin and piano (Melissa Tong played piano) and the finale with some Orchestra Book I tunes with the stage packed full and more Mark O’Connor rehearses with Mr. Loughran and the YOBC Symphony Orchestra. students in the aisles. YOBC Symphony Orchestra and Princeton High School Orchestra, audience. It is a great experience havRobert Loughran, Music Director ing an entire orchestral concert with performed the concerto. Robert conyouth orchestras created from Ameritinued to direct the finale and can music. I am honored that the we added: Prima Strings – O'Connor Method could lead to such a Concertino – Ripieno – Philbreakthrough in educational circles. harmonia – Symphony OrThe music students were beautiful. chestra, Princeton High Their concentration, effort, and exeSchool Orchestra, students cution moved and inspired us all. from the Westminster Choir Thank you for your leadership and College of Rider University bringing this about. Melissa and I Music Education Departloved performing with the kids and ment. doing the classes the day before!” It was a fantastic event We hope everyone was inspired with so many young people by the skill, artistry, and passion of making music for a happy the music you heard.

Conductors’ Notes: The True Challenge of Music Have you ever heard a student say, “the music we are playing for this concert is too easy”? When I hear that, I know that the student is missing the true challenge of the music. After many years of practicing and performing on my instrument, I rarely find the music too easy. Music is infinitely complex. The better a player I become, the more I am amazed at how far I have to go. We all know that music with lots of fast notes presents difficulties to the player. Music that goes to the highest or the lowest register of the instrument can be very challenging. Playing loudly or softly can tax our abilities. Difficult rhythms can put our abilities to the test. But all of these things are only the very tip of the iceberg! High, fast, and loud are not the Page 2

true challenge of the music. Attention to detail presents the player with the toughest challenge of all. When a fine player is called to play a single note, the effort needed to play it well is enormous. The entrance must be precise in the rhythmic placement. The attack must be exactly what the composer marked. The indicated dynamic must be followed and yet adjusted to the ensemble and to the acoustics of the hall. The tone must be pure and not waver. The pitch must be in tune with the ensemble and in tune with the harmony depending on what note of the chord you are playing. The release of the note must be rhythmically precise and match the ensemble playing before and after your note. All this for one note!

I find as a conductor that some of the simplest looking pieces selected for a program will be the most challenging for the group to play well. When students feel that they are not being challenged by the music on a program, often it is because they are only considering the music in a most superficial manner. As parents, we need to encourage our students to listen to great music and great performers as much as possible. The Philadelphia Orchestra is one of the finest orchestras in the world. Go to some concerts together; listen to great music performed at the highest level. Open your child’s mind to the possibilities! Have them record their practice and listen with them Continued on page 4

Keeping Tempo


potlight: Stephen Hopkins

French hornist Stephen Hopkins has been a member of YOBC for two years. Stephen joined YOBC after his fifth grade band teacher (and mentor), Sean O’Neill, recommended YOBC to him. Stephen wanted to expand his skills and play new music, so Mr. O’Neill knew YOBC would be a good fit. For the last two years, Stephen has played in YOBC’s Wind Symphony, but in the fall, he will move up to the Advanced Division and play in the Wind Ensemble. YOBC is expanding its wind programs in the upcoming season. Advanced Division wind and percussion students will almost all have an opportunity to play in a symphonic ensemble — either Philharmonia or Symphony Orchestra. Stephen is very excited for this next year: “I believe that this is a great idea. Having winds in the orchestra groups will definitely make YOBC more popular in my opinion.”

A multi-instrument musician, Stephen is currently in 8th grade at Maple Point Middle School in the Neshaminy School District. He plays the French horn at school in the Neshaminy Maple Point Concert Band, and he is also in Maple Point's Orchestra and String Ensemble, both on cello. Next school year, Stephen will be joining the Neshaminy High School Wind Ensemble, Marching Band, and Orchestra. For the last two years he has successfully auditioned for the BCMEA middle school band, placing first in the 2013 festival. During the summer he will be busy playing in the Neshaminy Summer Band and attending Marching Band Camp. Stephen studies the French horn under Jonathan Clark, a member of the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra and the Bay-Atlantic Symphony and a former YOBC member. When he is not playing music, Stephen mostly likes to hang out with his friends. He also likes to bike and go

on hiking trips. “I have hiked parts of the Appalachian Trail with my uncle over the last three spring breaks,” he says. Music will be a big part of Stephen’s future. When asked about it he says, “I plan to go into music performance and composition, and possibly music education.” We look forward to welcoming Stephen back for YOBC’s 23rd season.

Awards for Two YOBC Students from Delaware Valley Winds Last weekend, Hannah Schapiro performed an oboe solo with the Delaware Valley Wind Symphony (DVWS) at their final concert of the season. Hannah, a senior at Pennsbury High School, has been a member of YOBC for six years and played in the YOBC Symphony Orchestra and Wind Ensemble. She performed the 1st and 2nd movements of the Marcello Oboe Concerto. She has been a

Andrew King

Volume 4, Number 4, May 2013

member of the DVWS ensemble for two years and was awarded a special scholarship in honor of her outstanding musicianship and her musical contribution to the ensemble. At the same concert, YOBC trumpeter Andrew King was also awarded a scholarship based on his outstanding achievement as a musician and his intention to pursue the study of music at the college level. Andrew, a senior at Neshaminy High School, has been a member of YOBC for three years. He played in the Symphony Orchestra and Wind Ensemble. The two scholarships were awarded on Saturday evening at the Delaware Valley Wind Symphony's last concert this season. The Delaware Valley Wind Symphony is a 60-piece wind symphony whose members include area music educators and professional and semiprofessional musicians. Its mission is to provide high-quality live music and an opportunity for skilled

Hannah Schapiro

musicians of all ages to perform, and to foster and support music education by providing individual scholarships and grants to public music education programs. For more information, visit Page 3

Executive Director’s Corner: Planning for Serendipity On May 5, 2013, 248 student musicians filled the stage and spilled out into the aisles, ready to perform the grand finale of a concert that had already captured the hearts of the audience. Like the calm before a storm, the hall was silent in anticipation. Each musician was in position, focused on the conductor, waiting for that slight movement of the baton which would summon music simultaneously from all corners of the room. A second more and the hall was filled with the glorious sounds of American music performed by Mark O’Connor and those student musicians – our children! It was a moment to enjoy and treasure for all of us – a real mountaintop experience. “How lucky for the students to have such an experience!” we might think. But moments like this are not serendipitous and happen because of more than just good luck! If you peel back the layers of circumstances that made this opportunity possible, you will find a lot of work, planning, and dedication on the part of many people. Behind the scenes during the Mark O’Connor events, over 45 volunteers were on the ground, working hard to make sure stages were set and students were fed, monitored, and in place. Patriot

Theater’s professional stage technicians and security were on duty eight hours before the concert to prepare the venue. Peel back another layer and you will find a full year of investment as students, conductors, administrative staff, and parents worked together to plan the details of the event, learn the music, and transport students to and from rehearsals all year. Go back a little further and you will find YOBC parent, David Osen-

Challenge of Music

YOBC Ensembles for Winds and Percussion

Continued from page 2

to let them hear how they are playing. Encourage them to bring their playing to a higher level. The ability to understand the true complexity of music and to be able to understand and work on fine detail will help the student not just with music but in any endeavor they choose to undertake. —Steve Sweetsir YOBC Assistant Music Director Page 4

advantage of the tremendous opportunity the Mark O’Connor master classes and concert afforded them. Creating opportunities for artistic excellence is what YOBC is all about. While the 2012–2013 season is winding down, we are busy planning out next year’s program. Our ensemble program is at the core of what we do. This is where performance training in skills like listening, ensemble technique, musical phrasing, and balance take place. The music chosen by each conductor is carefully selected to teach students these skills. The lessons learned in rehearsals, combined with what students learn through private instruction and home practice, put them in a position to uniquely benefit when they are given exceptional opportunities to work with guest artists. YOBC’s 2013–2014 season will feature some pretty amazing guest artists. In addition to our annual master class season, we will be offering students unforgettable opportunities to work with the Ying Quartet, Dr. Quincy Hilliard, the Curtis String Quintet, and Philadelphia Orchestra concertmaster, David Kim. Our goal for next year is to put YOBC students in a position where serendipity can happen. —Colleen Sweetsir YOBC Executive Director

Our goal for next year is to put YOBC students in a position where serendipity can happen. berg, stepping forward to introduce YOBC to Mr. O’Connor, the YOBC Board of Directors volunteering time and resources to lay the foundation for the project, and the YOBC artistic staff designing an event that would provide educational opportunities for students at each level of musical development. Go back further, and you find parents who made a decision to invest in their children’s education by providing them with instruments, lessons, rides, and that ever so important ingredient, encouragement. Here too, you find students willing to “seize the moment” through practice, preparation, and attendance. It took all of these layers of preparation to put YOBC students in a position to take

Starting in the 2013–14 season, YOBC offers new opportunities for wind and percussion students. The large ensembles placements will be:  Wind Symphony Intermediate ensemble, full symphonic band instrumentation  Wind Ensemble Advanced ensemble, full symphonic band instrumentation  Fanfare Winds Advanced ensemble, band instrumentation but less doubling on parts



Philharmonia Advanced ensemble full orchestra with students from Fanfare Winds and Wind Ensemble Symphony Orchestra Advanced ensemble full orchestra with students from Fanfare Winds and Wind Ensemble.

All placement by audition and as selected by ensemble director. Students will be notified of their orchestral placement by early June. Keeping Tempo

Join the Summer 2014 International Tour to Italy Planning for YOBC’s 2014 International Tour is well under way, with trip planners Monica and Gerardo Konig ready to take a preview tour this summer. During their trip, they will work with the tour organizers to select hotels and performance venues for the YOBC tour ensemble. The Italy tour is once again being organized by Festival Orchestre Giovanili (FOG) who planned the recent Mediterranean tour. FOG is based in Florence, Italy where it manages the annual Florence Youth Festival, now in its 15th year. The group also specializes in the organization of European musical projects and festivals in Italy, France, Latvia, Spain, Croatia, and the UK for international youth ensembles and musicians. They tailor music tours for traveling youth groups throughout the year The 2014 itinerary has not yet been finalized, but a broad outline is in place. The YOBC group will land in Venice and travel across Italy, ending in Rome. During the 10-day tour, musicians can expect to visit three of Italy’s important cultural centers, with a full-day visit to Venice, a full day in Florence, and two days in Rome. Visits to Pisa and Siena and other smaller towns will be determined by the Konigs, after their preview. There will be guided tours of each of the major cities, as well as tickets to some of the important galleries and museums. The core of the trip will be the musical opportunities. YOBC musicians will take part in four international music festivals including Padua, Florence, Montecatini Terme, and either Perugia or Spoleto. There will also be a master class, the details of which have yet to be determined. All Advanced Division YOBC students are eligible for the tour. This includes students in Symphony Orchestra, Fanfare Winds, Volume 4, Number 4, May 2013

Philharmonia, and Wind Ensemble. Register now for this popular tour. There are still some spots left. The deadline for applications is September 25, 2013. Until that date, deposits are refundable. More information about the tour, including the application form and pricing information, is available on the YOBC website under Members/2014 Tour. YOBC stu-

dents who have participated in past tours often cite them as their best memories of their YOBC experience. The enthusiastic and appreciative audiences (who are not their parents!) and the gorgeous venues are a highlight of the performances. Don’t miss your chance to be part of this exciting opportunity.

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252 Hollow Branch Lane Yardley, PA 19067 Email:

The YOUTH ORCHESTRA OF BUCKS COUNTY, Pennsylvania (Y OBC) was founded in 1991 with the spo nsorship and support of Bucks Coun ty Community College. Its mission is to create opportunities for young music ians to achieve artistic excellence thr ough enriching classical musical exp eriences. In 22 seasons the organization has grown from a single, 60-member ens emble to 13 ensembles with over 250 young musicians.

Students In Concert Music Festival in Bristol Students in Concert — YOBC’s outreach program in Bristol Township School District (BTSD) — concluded its pilot season with a band festival the last weekend of April. The initiative was financially and musically supported by YOBC through funds raised at a benefit last fall specifically targeting this program. The idea was to create an ensemble to allow and encourage a greater number of students to participate in BTSD’s band program,

and to strengthen the educational experience for all students in the ensemble. A number of the students will be auditioning for YOBC later this month. The project was carried out under the direction of Keith Krelove of Truman High School and Chris Gerhart of Franklin Delano Roosevelt Middle School. Each Monday evening from October through April, students met in small groups and privately for lessons with spe-

cialists on their instruments. For their final concert, the Students in Concert kids were rehearsed by renowned composer Quincy C. Hilliard of the School of Music, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, who will be a guest artist for YOBC this fall. YOBC will be coordinating fundraisers in Bristol throughout the summer to continue to support the program for the next school year. Watch the YOBC website for details about how you can help.

Quincy Hilliard rehearses with Bristol Township School District middle school students for their final concert.

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Keeping Tempo

Keeping Tempo May 2013  

YOBC's quarterly newsletter

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