Ae
Resisting the beautiful weather, I forced myself to go indoors to hear the Juneau Student Symphony Orchestra. I’m so glad I did!
Concert review: Young musicians excel 053117 AE 1 John D'Armand, For the Capital City Weekly Resisting the beautiful weather, I forced myself to go indoors to hear the Juneau Student Symphony Orchestra. I’m so glad I did!
Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Story last updated at 5/30/2017 - 3:01 pm

Concert review: Young musicians excel

Resisting the beautiful weather, I forced myself to go indoors to hear the Juneau Student Symphony Orchestra. I’m so glad I did! Sunny days will come again, but not concerts like this one! Gua Hua Xia conducted the entire program flawlessly, revealing the many hours of work which he, Lorrie Heagy, and others had spent in teaching young children to play on pitch and with technical mastery.

High school musicians and a few members of the Juneau Symphony Orchestra were on hand to help the orchestra sound professional, but nine musicians, almost too young to hold violins, amazed me and the rest of the audience with their playing of sprightly arrangements of half-a-dozen folksongs. In addition, solo violinist Finn Kesey and solo pianist Alexander Yu stood out with their fine playing. It’s rare to find musicians so young playing so well.

Dozens of musicians of all ages combined their talents to offer a delicious repast of music. Kathleen Wayne provided the dessert with her solo rendition of “O, mio babbino caro” from the opera “Gianni Schicchi” by Puccini. Years ago, she won a statewide competition to become recognized as the best singer in the state, and she hasn’t lost any of the vibrant tone or musicianship that got her there way back when.

By the time the final compositions had come around, a massive, stirring sound was roaring out of the orchestra. The Juneau Symphony Orchestra includes expert musicians from towns far and near in its concerts, but the Juneau Student Symphony Orchestra had not looked beyond our town’s borders to find all the players it needed. There’s a lot of talent in this town of ours, and the young players proved that it keeps on a-comin’!

Music classes have been eliminated at the local campus of the University of Alaska, but much fine teaching of music is going on all over this cultured town of ours. I congratulate the instrumental-music teachers of Juneau, for they have ignited and fanned a fiery interest in this great art which we call music.