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Doubling Down on Young Talent

Montreal joins Chesapeake Youth Symphony Orchestra for joint concert

The Montreal Youth Symphony, shown, joins the Chesapeake Youth Symphony Chorus for a March 1 concert.

World travel is nothing new to the young musicians of the Chesapeake Youth Symphony Orchestra.
    These talented kids and teens have visited and played in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, Russia and Italy, France and Spain, and they have their eye on Lithuania.
    Now, for the first time, they get to host their own international guests. The Montreal Youth Symphony comes to town for a joint concert March 1 in an event to be remembered.
    The Youth Symphony Orchestra annual gala is a full day of entertainment by two youth symphonies, the Chesapeake Symphony Orchestra’s seven ensembles, two silent auction receptions with entertainment by the jazz ensemble and two concerts by the junior and senior ensembles.
    Festivities kick off with the junior ensembles’ reception at 1pm and culminate with the 6pm reception and 7:30pm concert featuring the Chesapeake Youth Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Maestro Julien Benichou. They will be accompanied by mezzo soprano Leah Hawkins in a ballet suite from Manuel de Falla’s El Amor Brujo. Hawkins, a recent graduate of Morgan State University, now attends graduate school at Yale. Next, the Montreal Youth Symphony will play a suite from Richard Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalie. The Chesapeake Youth Symphony Orchestra Senior Flute Ensemble rounds out the evening.
    In addition to fine music and food, some very special silent auction items add to the attraction of this black-tie-optional gala. Come to listen, eat and bid on a week at Maestro Benichou’s home in southern France and not one but two South African safaris.
    The next day, both groups play an unprecedented side-by-side concert, accompanying the Morgan State University Orchestra in Gustav Mahler’s First Symphony. This is quite a coup for the local orchestra that, since its creation in 1990, has grown to more than 200 students aged eight to 18.
    The next question: How does the Chesapeake Youth Symphony Orchestra top this event for its silver anniversary next year.

Chesapeake Youth Symphony Orchestra Gala March 1 at St. John’s College Key Auditorium: $50 with steep student discounts: 443-758-3157; CYSOfunding@gmail.com.