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Youth Orchestras Of San Antonio Are Mentored In Side-By-Side Performance

Libby Day

Youth Orchestras of San Antonio offers its own version of a pay-it-forward style concert this weekend. YOSA's Troy Peters said the side-by-side concerts they perform twice a year have that pay-it-forward aspect built into their DNA.

"In a side-by-side performance we have a dozen musicians from the San Antonio Symphony and a dozen musicians from YOSA — student musicians — and each one of them is sitting next to a counterpart," he said.

These concerts enable young musicians to absorb a lot by watching at rehearsals, but they also get to question their symphony counterparts. And Peters said the students take what they've learned back to the other YOSA musicians. 

"Those dozen kids will go back into the full orchestra — a hundred other musicians — and model what they've learned," he said.

Saturday's performance at Laurel Heights United Methodist Church will likely be a lot of fun for the kids, but Peters said the entire audience should also enjoy it.

Credit Sarah Brooke Lyons
Troy Peters

“Erik Gratz, the Concertmaster of the San Antonio Symphony, is going to be our violin soloist,” Peters said. “He's playing Mozart's 'D Major Violin Concerto' which is just full of this youthful joy and energy."

That youthful energy is a recurring theme in the side-by-side performance. 

"We're playing a piece by an American composer named Jesse Montgomery that's called 'Starburst,' and ... it sounds like an explosion of energy," he said.  “We're doing a sinfonietta by an English composer called 'Malcolm Arnold' that has some Texas connections. He lived in the Texas Hill Country late in life.”

They're performing Haydn's 'Symphony #59,' but it’s best known by its nickname.

"The 'Fire Symphony' has this relentless drive, and it really sounds like something's on fire… but really an enjoyable piece to dig into," he said. 

Peters said the music they will play on Saturday was composed in four different centuries, and he thinks people from this one will really enjoy it.

IF YOU GO What: YOSA Side-By-Side Concert Where: Laurel Heights United Methodist Church When: 7 p.m. Saturday Cost:  $5-$10

Jack Morgan can be reached at Jack@TPR.org and on Twitter at @JackMorganii.