Orchestra festival reaffirms talents of young musicians

Students from the Greater New Orleans area and around the state experienced a fun, but intensive week at the 18th annual Greater New Orleans Youth Orchestras Summer Music Festival at Loyola University June 6-10.

The festival provides an opportunity for students to engage in small group instruction, participate in performance opportunities and enjoy social interaction with other talented musicians. Younger children participated in a string ensemble while students 12-18 participated in the full orchestra.

Baton Rouge-area parents Scott and Frances Spencer traveled with their daughter Cecilia, a cellist, so she could experience what they considered a “game-changing” experience. “I’m not usually at a loss for words, but this orchestra festival was a healing and reaffirming moment for all of us,” Frances Spencer said. “Cecilia came out of her shell both socially and musically as she learned, engaged, tried new things and had fun. This was a massive confidence-booster.”

Acclaimed fiddler/violinist and Grammy Award winning recording artist Mark O’Connor was the featured artist in resident. O’Connor, who performs with the O’Connor Family Band and has been hailed as “brilliantly original” by the Seattle Times, combines bluegrass, folk, jazz and classical genres to create a uniquely American sound. He has developed a patented training program for strings called The O’Connor Method and holds workshops all over the country.

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Renowed conductor Jean Montès, DMA, the director of orchestral studies and coordinator of Strings at Loyola University, is the artistic director of The Greater New Orleans Youth Orchestras where he conducts the Symphony Orchestra. A musician and conductor who enthusiastically promotes music of all world cultures, Montès is in constant demand as a conductor, clinician, judge, and lecturer with orchestras and schools at all levels throughout the country.

 

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