In 2006, when I first heard about the Knoxville Symphony Youth Orchestra, something told me this would be a wonderful thing for my children, if I had any. At the time, I did not have any, but I had recently been married.
Our children before the first orchestra rehearsal of the school year
Fast forward a decade and our children auditioned successfully for the youth symphony. For four years, between 2016-2020, we drove to Knoxville every week for rehearsals and concerts at the Tennessee Theater. The children made progress slowly but surely, advancing through the orchestra levels. Continue reading »
We have come close to the middle of this school year. Week 18 will happen here in a couple of weeks. In the US, there are 36 school weeks, or 180 school days, in case you did not know that. So here we are, starting week 17 and looking back at week 16. What have we learned?
Before their concert at the Tennessee Theater in Knoxville
First of all, I have slowed down my Trello lesson planning. For those of you new to homeschooling and planning, this happens every year. Once you know what you are doing and what your daily goals are, you do not need to put it into writing anymore. Continue reading »
For the second year in a row, I took the kids to String Camp in Knoxville. The youth symphony has four levels of orchestras during camp time and it is a wonderful time for the kids to grow, learn, and have fun while making friends and enjoying themselves.
My kids on day 2 of camp
This year, they were in two separate orchestras, as opposed to last summer, when they were both in the beginning orchestra. My son has gone to the next level, called Overture, while my daughter is still in the beginning orchestra, called Prelude. She has only studied violin for two years now and will need another year before she could go to the next level. Continue reading »
The Knoxville Symphony Youth Orchestras held their Winter Concert on February 13, 2017 at the Tennessee Theater in downtown Knoxville, as usual. My son’s orchestra, Preludium, played first. Their two pieces were March of the Meistersingers by Richard Wagner and Eine Kleine Nachtsmusik by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
Our son after playing with his orchestra
The other three orchestras – Philharmonia, Sinfonia and the Youth Chamber – also played that night. The top youth symphony orchestra played on the following Monday, on February 20, along with the Concerto Competition winners. We live one hour away from Knoxville so we excused ourselves from attending the concert on the 20th. The kids love classical music but they get bored by sitting in the audience for more than 45 minutes and these concerts last for at least one hour. Continue reading »
The night of the Gatlinburg wildfires, my children and I were in Knoxville for their last orchestra practice of the year. That was the night we picked up their orchestra portraits and some merchandise we had ordered: a car magnet for me, which says “Knoxville Symphony Youth Orchestras;” two mascot lamas, and sweatshirts with the orchestra logo and roster.
With everything going on since the fire, I have barely had time to enjoy these things or to blog about them. A life-changing event like a national disaster sure puts things into perspective. Nevertheless, as things begin to align toward a new normal, we have time and energy to feel the pride of having joined the youth orchestras this year. Continue reading »
Last Sunday, we took our children to West Valley Middle School in Knoxville, where the Knoxville Symphony held auditions for their youth orchestra. They have six ensembles and our kids auditioned for the entry level orchestra called Preludium.
Our children at the Pearl Harbor Exhibit inside Ripley’s Aquarium
By Wednesday, I was getting really anxious to hear the results, even though their violin teacher, who is a concert master in Canada, assured me they would get accepted. The question was, also, how they would be placed, as they are two years apart in skills. I knew that KSYO might start another ensemble, for children whose skills are not yet at Preludium level, but nothing was certain. Continue reading »
My children attended String Camp for the first time this year. Organized by the Knoxville Symphony Youth Orchestras, this five-day camp happened at Hardin Valley Academy in Knoxville. About 256 string players showed up and they were organized in five orchestras according to their skills and experience.
On the last day of camp, they wore “concert attire” – as you can see, very relaxed atmosphere.
Since my children had no orchestra experience, they were placed in the entry-level orchestra called Prelude. Erin Archer is the conductor of Preludium, the equivalent of this entry-level for the regular youth orchestra, and so she directed Prelude during String Camp. They played Over the Rainbow and the main theme from Pirates of the Caribbean. The theme of the camp was “That’s Entertainment!” and so all the repertoire was from movies and musicals. Continue reading »