By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
Oklahoma Youth Orchestras has announced it will be holding auditions for the 2015-2016 season. Public, private and home school students grades 6 thru 12 throughout central and western Oklahoma are welcome to audition Saturday, May 16 through Monday, May 18 at the Wanda L. Bass School of Music at Oklahoma City University.
Eligibility includes participation in the student’s school instrumental music program where available. Audition time registration is required and can be completed online.
“We strive to serve students ranging from developing string players to the most advanced high school seniors,” said Executive Director Jason Edward Grife. “Our goal is to provide a fun, yet challenging music environment, that focuses on the development of each student to help them achieve excellence.”
Five auditioned ensembles are supported by the Oklahoma Youth Orchestras and rehearse Monday evenings throughout the school year.
The organization’s flagship ensemble, the Oklahoma Youth Orchestra, and Oklahoma Youth Philharmonic both offer high school age students a full-orchestra experience performing repertoires by both classical and modern composers.
Students interested in a band experience can join the Oklahoma Youth Winds conducted by Oklahoma City University Conducting Professor Dr. Matthew Mailman. The Chamber Orchestra and Sinfonia are string orchestras developed for younger musicians that focus on instrumental technique.
“Our staff works to develop unique and creative experiences for our students,” said Grife. “Each ensemble performs four concerts during the course of a season including special performance opportunities such as the Oklahoma Youth Orchestra Side By Side concert with the Oklahoma City Philharmonic and the Sinfonia and Chamber Orchestra National Guest Conductor Workshop.”
Local students Olivia Jirousek and Caroline Graham were featured on the Oklahoma Youth Orchestras End of Season Concert on Sunday, May 3 at the Edmond North High School Auditorium.
Edmond resident and Memorial High School Senior Olivia Jirousek is the final concerto winner for the 2014-2015 season.
Jirousekl presented Flute Concertino, Op. 107 by Chaminade with the organization’s flagship ensemble. A student of Juliana Overmier, Jirousek recently was featured as the 2015 OKC Symphonic Band Concerto Winner and has won the Oklahoma Flute Society’s High School competition three times.
“The Oklahoma Youth Orchestras has helped me excell as a musician more than anything else,” said Jirousek. “I have never been pushed to be my best with the highest expectations like I have in the OYO.”
Olivia is one of three concerto winners to perform this season.
The Oklahoma Youth Winds 6th Annual Student Conducting Competition Winner, Caroline Graham was featured conducting John Philip Sousa’s The Liberty Bell March. Graham is a senior at Midwest City High School and bassoon student of Anna Resnick.
As a bassoonist, Graham has been part of the OMEA All-State ensembles for two years and participated in the CODA honor ensembles for five years.
“The competition is more than a contest,” said Dr. Matthew Mailman, Conductor of the Oklahoma Youth Winds. “As part of the preparation for the contest, we give several students their first conducting lesson and hopefully inspire them to continue studying conducting in college.
“The competition also demonstrates the strong confidence that OYO has in its amazingly talented students to entrust the winner with conducting a piece on the final concert,” Mailman added.
The Oklahoma Youth Philharmonic and Percussion Ensemble was joined by the Oklahoma Youth Orchestra and Oklahoma Youth Winds on this final concert of the season.
Since 1977, OYO has provided advanced orchestra education and performance opportunities for talented elementary, middle and high school musicians from all over the state. More than 300 young musicians come together each year as part of the twelve programs supported by the organization.
As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and Member Agency of Allied Arts, OYO is supported in part by the Oklahoma Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Kirkpatrick Foundation and the League of American Orchestras.
To register for an audition, visit www.oyomusic.org/join or call 405-232-1199