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Right at home

Youth orchestra moves into new rehearsal space

Tuesday, September 3, 2013
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Right at home


Helen Cha-Pyo, music director and conductor for the Empire State Youth Orchestra rehearse Tuesday in their new venue at Brown School on Corlaer Avenue in Schenectady.
Helen Cha-Pyo, music director and conductor for the Empire State Youth Orchestra rehearse Tuesday in their new venue at Brown School on Corlaer Avenue in Schenectady.

— Advanced young musicians throughout the Capital Region will now come to Schenectady for rehearsal with the Empire State Youth Orchestras.

The orchestras used to rehearse at the Albany Academies, but that school could no longer offer rehearsal rooms, interim Executive Director Sara Torrey said.

“They needed the space,” she said.

Luckily, an ESYO board member is the head of Brown School. Her trustees enthusiastically agreed to donate space to the orchestras.

It’s a big commitment. Empire State needs space for 185 to 200 children to rehearse every week during the school year.

The most advanced students rehearse for three hours every Tuesday. Students in the repertory orchestra rehearse for 21⁄2 hours.

“It’s pretty intense,” Torrey said.

The program also includes nine ensembles for less-advanced students, who rehearse in Albany, Niskayuna and Troy.

“We don’t own our own building, so we’re kind of spread all over the Capital District,” Torrey said.

Brown isn’t getting much in return for the space — two students are in the ensembles, but no Brown student is currently in one of the competitive orchestras. Nevertheless, Brown isn’t charging Empire State for the space.

“They’ve been wonderful,” Torrey said.

The orchestras will do more than simply rehearse in Schenectady. The orchestra’s first concert will be a free event at Proctors. On Oct. 13, it will first play for music students from throughout the region. Music teachers sign up their classes for the Young People’s concert “as a means of really introducing them to classical music, but seeing it played by people just a little bit older than themselves,” Torrey said. “It’s very inspiring.”

At 1 p.m. that afternoon, the orchestra will offer a free concert for senior citizens.

The orchestra began rehearsing Tuesday. Their work will culminate in a performance June 1 at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

 
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September 4, 2013
10:13 a.m.
SaraTorrey says...

Just to clarify - 1/ on Oct. 23, ESYO's Youth Orchestra, led by Music Director and Conductor Helen Cha-Pyo, gives two performances: a Young People's Concert in the morning for school children in the region (nominal per student fee) and a FREE concert at 1:00 pm for senior citizens. 2/ ESYO actually has nine performing groups including the two orchestras that are rehearsing at Brown School. The other ensembles: two jazz groups, a wind orchestra, a string ensemble, and three percussion groups. PLUS a program of free lessons on string and brass instruments for inner-city youth in middle schools in Albany and Schenectady. More info at www.esyo.org.

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