A few months back I announced here that my son won the concerto competition on his trombone for Berkeley Youth Orchestra. On Sunday afternoon, May 20, he played his concerto in the Laney College auditorium in Oakland, CA as a part of the season's final BYO concert. We enjoyed it greatly. Kirk has taken lessons from Mara Fox for six years and has just begun instruction with Don Howe. Kirk is a sophomore, who turned sixteen in February. No, we didn't have him when I was sixteen, even though I look thirty-five. I actually do look every bit the forty-five that I am. I just hate it when people think I'm my dad's younger brother. My daughter is also in BYO, a seventh grader who just turned thirteen yesterday. She did compete in the concerto competition, playing the first movement of Bach's Violin Concerto in A Minor. Of course, she did have her brother to compete against. :)
Tuesday evening my son and daughter auditioned for another orchestra, YPSO, Young People's Symphony Orchestra, the oldest youth orchestra in the state of California and the second oldest in the entire U.S. BYO is an orchestra essentially for 5th to 10th graders. YPSO suggests itself for ages twelve to twenty. YPSO is an older orchestra and extremely good. You should read the bio of the director---very talented.
In our general area within the San Francisco Bay Area, YPSO is considered only second to the San Francisco Youth Orchestra, the auxiliary orchestra to the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra. Kirk will audition with San Francisco next Thursday. That will be tough to make. First, most who play in that orchestra attend the San Francisco conservatory. Second, there are a mere two tenor trombones in an orchestra with try-outs for whatever seat is open. It very well could be 200 plus auditioning for one seat. One of the seats is occupied by a young man from the state of Washington. They fly from all over the country to be in just the youth orchestra.
This is a tour year for YPSO. They will travel to play in Australia and New Zealand as part of next season. They will play in the home of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, in the historic and iconic Sydney Opera House. Well, I'll get to the news. My son and daughter both made YPSO. We got the phone call today. Thursday night my nine year old, fourth grade daughter, Natalie, auditioned for BYO, and she succeeded at making that orchestra.
I thought you might find all of this interesting, even though it is blatantly personal. You may wonder how this might clash with living for the Lord. It doesn't if you don't let it. We can play the music that they play. It is very difficult, challenging, stretching music that helps a child become as good as possible on his instrument, so that he can use it for the Lord. A child also gets excellent instruction. "And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men" (Colossians 3:23). "Sing unto him a new song; play skilfully with a loud noise" (Psalm 33:3).