By Ted AYALA
Glendale counts a number of musical organizations that would be the envy of many a city in Southern California and even from those afar.
The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, the Glendale Philharmonic, and the bi-monthly Glendale Noon Concerts series are just a few of the cultural oases that music lovers can partake of within the city’s boundaries. To those one can unhesitatingly add the Glendale Youth Orchestra (GYO).
“Youth orchestra” can bring to the minds of some an orchestra of children stumbling their way through medleys and unimaginative arrangements of pop favorites. A minute or two listening to the GYO, however, will serve as a sharp rebuke to that notion.
The orchestra’s music director Brad Keimach has fashioned an ensemble that not only delivers quality performances, but extracts from its soloists playing that is truly engaged, making known to every listener within earshot the performer’s own wonder and delight in their music-making.
It’s no surprise then to learn that Keimach had studied under Leonard Bernstein. Much of the energy that characterized the best of his mentor’s work finds its echo in Keimach’s own leadership.
On Sunday, May 17 the orchestra will conclude its 26th season with a spate of concerti stretching from the 18th century to the 20th century, then close with a performance of Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 5.”
Among the soloists at this Sunday’s concert are two students from Crescenta Valley High School: flutist Josephine Lee and cellist Ryan Choi. The former will perform Carl Reinecke’s “Flute Concerto in D,” while the latter will play the exuberant first movement of Dmitri Kabalevsky’s youthful “Cello Concerto No. 1.” Joining them will be violinists Rachel Mugemancuro and Jacqueline Ching, and cellist Maya Paredes performing works by J.C. Bach, J.S. Bach and Mozart.
It’s rare to find an ensemble that captures the finest elements of what we associate with youth – namely the passion it breeds within the hearts of the young – and hones it to dazzling gleam. But with Brad Keimach at the helm, the GYO has certainly accomplished just that.
The season finale to the GYO’s 26th season will take place at the Alex Theatre in Downtown Glendale at 7 p.m. Tickets are $12.50 and can be purchased at the Alex’s box office. Groups of 15 or more get 15% off. Students, children and seniors may purchase tickets for $10 each. To obtain tickets and more information, please go online to www.alextheatre.org or call (818) 243-2539.
The Alex Theatre is located at 216 N. Brand Blvd. in Glendale.