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April 2016 – Youth Orchestra Salinas

Month: April 2016

Students from our Pre-Orchestra program performed at the Oldtown Marketplace on Saturday, 4/9/16. They did an excellent job! Congrats to Teaching Artists Michael Gomez, Felisha Garcia, Isabel Guerrero, Liz Baseman and Tyler Reilly for their hard work with the students!


We have exciting news: four of our YoSal students auditioned and have been accepted into the National Take a Stand Festival held at the Aspen Music Festival and School in Colorado this Summer! Xin Yu Zhou will be representing YoSal on violin, Andrea Macias on viola, and both Kevin Do and Sharon Ortega on percussion. Congratulations to our students!

The NTASF was developed in part by the Los Angeles Philharmonic and is a means of uniting students from various El Sistema USA-inspired programs across the country. Students from similar programs like YoSal auditioned to be part of the national youth orchestra camps held in the western region (Colorado) and in the eastern region (New York) of the U.S. this Summer. Our four students, along with the rest of the students accepted into the festival camps, will have the opportunity to work with world-renowned musicians, conductors, and artists for the entire week of the festival. The whole trip – food, travel, housing, meals, etc. – is completely free for the students, and is made possible by the LA Phil and partnering organizations.

To learn more about this festival and what our YoSal students will be doing, check out the official Press Release.

Big congratulations, once again, to Xin Yu, Andrea, Kevin, and Sharon for your hard work and dedication to your instruments and to the YoSal program. And huge thanks and congrats to our wonderful, talented orchestra conductors and teaching artists – Amalia Diaz, Miran McPoland, David Giertz, and Greg Smith.

DSC_0957(From left to right: Amalia Diaz – Orchestra Director, Miran McPoland – Strings, David Giertz – Percussion, and Greg Smith – Brass.)

Three of our Teaching Artists in our Pre-Orchestra program (Michael Gomez, Isabel Guerrero, and Felisha Garcia) took about 25 of our Pre-Orchestra students to the Kinship Center this past Saturday for a mini workshop and performance. We had parents and families from the Kinship Center and YoSal participate in this wonderful event! We followed up the music with some fun at Toro Park.

Thanks so much to Jennifer Acevedo and Harriet Paskins at the Kinship Center for having us out again. We look forward to more collaboration in the Summer!

YoSal students from the Orchestra went to Marks Ranch right next to Toro Park this past Saturday, 3/12, for a day camp with the Big Sur Land Trust. Trent Hodges, Outdoor Programs Coordinator for BSLT, describes how the day unfolded below:

“On March 12, nine YOSAL students joined Big Sur Land Trust for a day out at the spectacular Marks Ranch right next to Toro Park.  The recent rains have covered the hills in green and the wildflowers have just begun to bloom setting the stage for a magical experience in nature.  The YOSAL kids were joined by professional wildlife biologist Tanya Diamond who taught the kids how to look for the tracks of the many animals that pass through Marks Ranch.  To the surprise of everyone, a mountain lion track was found at the very beginning of the day!  The kids continued to track all the way to a wildlife camera where they learned how biologists use technology to understand more about animal movement.

After lunch, the group learned about the fascinating history of the land, including the Ohlone/Costanoan indigenous tribes, the vaqueros of early California, and the Marks family who ran a chicken egg operation in the early 1900’s.  The YOSAL youth dressed up in costume according to each historical group and gave fun and informative presentations.  Lastly, the kids made a significant hike up to a high point at the park where they gazed over the Salinas Valley with views stretching from Salinas, to the Pacific Ocean, and Santa Cruz.  It was a fantastic day to enjoy the incredible natural beauty that surrounds our communities.”

Many thanks to Trent Hodges and BSLT for this wonderful opportunity for our students! We’re looking forward to the next camp on April 2nd!

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