By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
For over 35 years, the Oklahoma Youth Orchestras (OYO) has provided advanced orchestral education and performance opportunities for talented middle school and high school musicians from Oklahoma.
This year, the Oklahoma Youth Orchestras will present a new pop and rock string orchestra called Rockin’ Strings, an addition to its traditional ensembles. Pre-registrations for the new group are being accepted. The 15-week program will begin with the first rehearsal on Thursday, January 23.
Created as a Trans-Siberian Orchestra style experience, students will explore music ranging from Katy Perry to Led Zeppelin to legendary film scores. Teaching proper technique and musicianship is at the forefront while preparing players for each concert.
“Providing a ‘pops’ ensemble offers new and current students an opportunity to study music outside the classical realm. It provides them a well-rounded music education-not to mention, it’s fun,” said Executive Director Jason Edward Grife.
Rockin’ Strings is a non-audition ensemble open to string players grades 7-9 with at least one year of ensemble experience.
Rehearsals are Thursday evenings from 6 – 7:15 p.m. at Wesley United Methodist Church, 1401 NW 25th St. in Oklahoma City beginning January 16.
For tuition rates and pre-registration, visit www.oyomusic.org and click “Programs” or call 405-232-1199.
More than 300 young musicians come together each year as part of the nine ensembles supported by the organization.
“The Oklahoma Youth Orchestras is the name of our nonprofit organization, which encompasses our flagship ensemble The Oklahoma Youth Orchestra as well as other ensembles and programs,” said Grife.
“Other ensembles include the Oklahoma Youth Winds, Oklahoma Youth Philharmonic, Sinfonia and Chamber Orchestra. New programs like Rockin’ Strings are being introduced this spring and summer.”
Formerly known as the Guy Fraser Harrison Academy for the Performing Arts, the Oklahoma Youth Orchestras program seeks to strengthen already existing school instrumental music programs and to supplement instrumental music programs that do not include orchestra.
“The organization’s name was changed in 2010 to better reflect our stance as the premier Youth Orchestra program in the state.”
“These new programs and realignment of the organization are part of a revitalization plan I developed with the board after beginning as executive director just this past April,” Grife added.
As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, the organization is supported in part by the Oklahoma Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, Chesapeake Energy, the Kirkpatrick Foundation and the League of American Orchestras. The organization is a Member of Agency of Allied Arts.
Other program support comes from a combination of sources, including participation fees, concert admission, grants, special projects and donations.
The Oklahoma Youth Orchestras (OYO) program seeks to broaden the cultural and artistic horizons of middle school and high school orchestral students through advanced training and performance opportunities under the direction of professional musicians, conductors and teachers.
From the beginning, international concert tours have been a feature of the OYO experience. The orchestra has performed before audiences in venues such as China, Germany, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Australia, Italy, France, England, Austria, Switzerland, and Scotland.
The Oklahoma Youth Orchestra has been conducted since 1992 by Dr. John Clinton, who serves as Dean of the College of Fine Arts and Design at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond.
OYO is comprised of the most advanced high school orchestral musicians. The Oklahoma Youth Orchestra membership is based strictly on ability, without regard to race, religion, gender, disability or ability to pay.
To be part of the auditioned ensembles call 405-232-1199 or for more information, visit www.oyomusic.org or email [email protected].