FA Youth Orchestra Opens Chamber Concert

Foundation Academies Collegiate Youth Orchestra with Concordia Chamber Players

Foundation Academies Collegiate Youth Orchestra ended Spring Break by opening the Concordia Chamber Players concert at Trinity Episcopal Church – Solebury with a strings rendition of the “Game of Thrones” theme song on Sunday, April 16.

“We are proud to see our scholars shine through the arts,” said FA CEO Sheria McRae. “Opportunities to showcase their talents and passions empower our scholars to lead purpose-filled lives and lean into who they were created to be.”

FA Collegiate offers String Orchestra classes to all ninth graders, and as an elective for older students. Youth Orchestra is a voluntary, extra-curricular activity for students who cannot take daily orchestra classes in a given semester or who want to continue playing beyond the daily class environment, said Orchestra Teacher Vincent Bello.

Youth Orchestra members are in grades 9-12 and have been playing their instruments an average of six years. The ensemble is smaller than the full orchestra, allowing for more flexibility in musical selections to learn and perform — resulting in a more challenging repertoire than is usually played in daily classes, Mr. Bello said. 

“I always enjoy working with students who really love playing enough that they choose to stay after school once a week to look at really interesting and challenging music,” Mr. Bello said. “The group makes a lot of decisions by consensus or vote because everyone is very invested.”  

Concordia Chamber Players invited the Youth Orchestra to open their final concert of the season after partnering with FA, teaching master classes and visiting the campus. Chamber musicians – Michelle Djokic, David Samuel, Gabriella Diaz and Siwoo Kim – met with scholars in November, talking with them about life as professional musicians, and performing a composition by Florence Price – one of the first black female composers and the first black woman to have a piece performed by a major orchestra in 1932.

Performing with Concordia “is a valuable opportunity for students to act as ambassadors for our music program to a wider audience,” Mr. Bello said. 

Later this month, Foundation Academies will again partner with Trinity Episcopal Church – Solebury, leading a forum on “Justice and Equity in Education.” The forum will be held 11 am to Noon on Sunday April 30 at the church.

The forum continues Trinity Church’s exploration of social justice issues and will follow a guest sermon by Kimme Carlos, the daughter of civil rights activist and Olympic champion John Carlos. Ms. Carlos is an ordination aspirant at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Trenton, NJ, an advocate for mental health and social justice, and president of the Foundation Academies Board of Trustees.

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Michelle Ruess