SALISBURY, MD---For the past 20 years, the Salisbury Symphony Orchestra at Salisbury University (SSO) has provided classical music for Maryland’s Eastern Shore. What fewer people may know is that the SSO also has provided opportunities for area youth to join in that musical experience.
Comprised of 48 musicians throughout the Delmarva Peninsula, the Salisbury Youth Symphony gives elementary, middle and high school students a chance to perform with select members of the SSO.
“Practicing privately you can only refine your skills so much,” said Bryan Klebon, a 17-year-old viola player who has been with the orchestra for eight years. “The orchestra gives me a chance to listen to other musicians and adapt to how they play.”
“One of the things that makes the youth orchestra strong is the diversity of the musicians,” said Dr. Jeffrey Schoyen, conductor of the SSO and youth orchestra. “We have a healthy mix of ages, races and backgrounds. Some are from public schools and some are from private schools. Regardless of where they come from, the music helps them to form bonds. This carries over into the greater community because people are working together, doing something constructive.”
Bryan agrees: “I see the other musicians all the time and have formed friendships with them.”
To continue encouraging the students’ growth “as musicians and citizens,” Schoyen said, “we really hope to reach a wider audience than just parents, friends, and family. Music is a lot like a sport and it benefits everyone when the community is behind it.”
“We are growing a lot, musically and developmentally,” Bryan said. “We’ve started playing at area high schools like Bennett, Parkside, and Wi-Hi. Dr. Schoyen has taken a firm stand as our director, and we are excited about the new direction the orchestra is taking.”
Members practice together one night each week and up to 10 hours per week on their own to achieve just the right sound.
“It takes a definite level of skill to play in a community orchestra,” Schoyen said. “These kids have that skill.”
“A few of our kids are also musicians in the adult orchestra,” added Barbara Klebon, Bryan’s mother and parent coordinator for the youth orchestra. “The [youth] orchestra is totally different from playing in a school band. Here the strings section gets to play along with the winds. That’s an experience that they don’t get anywhere else.”
The community will have the chance to hear the youth orchestra’s rehearsals pay off during its semi-annual concert, “From the Stage to the Silver Screen: Music from Broadway and Hollywood” 7:30p.m. Thursday, April 13, in Holloway Hall Auditorium. Sponsored by the Department of Music, admission is $5 for adults, $3 for children. For tickets call 410-548-5587.
Schoyen would like to see more community involvement, however, it’s the musicians who matter most.
“For me the highlight of working with the youth orchestra is the opportunity to perpetuate the art,” he said. “Whether my kids go on to become professional musicians or even just listeners or supporters, I know that they will take something with them.”
For more information about the youth symphony, call 410-548-5587 or visit the SU Web site at www.salisbury.edu. "