After 25 years of providing young musicians with a place to perform, the Atlantic Youth Orchestra is scheduled to perform its 25th Anniversary Concert next month in Somers Point.
Its founder and director, Sandra Miller, of Northfield, said the orchestra “started out with about 12 kids, basically my students. They didn’t have any place to play. So we added cellos, and a couple other (instruments), and today there’s 50 kids in it from three different counties: Atlantic, Cape May and Cumberland.”
The orchestra is selected according to skill level, Miller said, so while most musicians are middle and high schoolers, “there are a couple kids in the sixth grade, so advanced because they started at age 5. And this year, there are a few adults who are students, an adult violist and two adult cellists. It will probably be an intergenerational orchestra, eventually.”
Jeanette Reilly, of Absecon, is the mother of orchestra member Reilly Hall.
“My son is 12 years old and he’s been playing violin since he was 5,” Reilly said. The orchestra, she said, “gives him a chance to play his instrument, and he doesn’t really have an orchestra in school to play to his level. Lessons are one thing, but to go play with an orchestra, especially with outstanding students all the way up to high school level, I think it’s a great thing.”
At the 25th Anniversary Concert, students will be performing the music of Bach, Mozart, Rosinni and Brahms, as well as the premiere of “Bright Star,” a composition by New Jersey composer Karen Cowgill written specifically for the concert. The performance will include Atlantic Youth Orchestra Chamber Orchestra and singers from the Doug Murdock Meistersingers.
In addition, the concert will feature music from the show “Doctor Who,” arranged for the orchestra by orchestra member Bianca Fanty, a junior at Egg Harbor Township High School.
The 25th Anniversary Concert is scheduled for Sunday, April 6 at 7 p.m. at Christ Episcopal Church in Somers Point.
The orchestra can be seen at its home location of Central United Methodist Church in Linwood Sunday at 4 p.m.
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