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Flagler Youth Orchestra Performs History of Music in 16 Chapters Saturday in Palm Coast

| January 26, 2017

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Sue Cryan conducts: the Flagler Youth Orchestra’s Harmony Chamber players at last year’s concert at the United Methodist Church. (© FlaglerLive)

Imagine romping through the entire history of Western music from its Renaissance polyphonies to its most modern synergies, with a tango, a fire dance and Eleanor Rigby along the way.


That’s what the Flagler Youth Orchestra’s most advanced ensemble will perform Saturday at its annual and free appearance at the Palm Coast United Methodist Church’s Concert Series (at 4 p.m. at at 5200 Belle Terre Parkway).

Youth Orchestra concerts have become routinely well received–and anticipated–and not just when the organization’s entire corps of 350-some musicians performs three times a year at the Flagler Auditorium.

Every January for the past half dozen years, the Youth Orchestra’s Harmony Chamber Orchestra, which gathers the FYO’s three dozen or so best performers, has appeared in the Methodist Church’s more intimate and sonorously pleasing apse.

This year, Music Director and conductor Sue Cryan sought to combine music with some history as an enticing way to interest students and listeners. So the concert will cover half a millennium of music, starting with a motet by Palestrina, the Italian Renaissance composer best known for his choral works. Motets are voice compositions, but in this case the work has been transcribed and arranged for strings. (Actually the very first piece is from Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition,” but the timeless is part of music history, too.) Pieces by Henry Purcell and Telemann will then illustrate the early Baroque, when the influence of royal courts or cathedrals still echoed in the breadth of their compositions.

With Handel in the later Baroque–whose work is illustrated by the Water Music Overture–suites and concertos become the road shows of the age and open the way to the symphonic music of the classical and early romantic periods. (The concert alas commits the mortal sin of omitting so much as a twang from J.S. Bach, whose influence is all over two-thirds of the afternoon’s compositions.) Mozart’s “A Little Night Music” (the elevator music of its day) will mark the concert’s midpoint before works by varied Romantics–Smetana, Grieg and Brahms–lead into the 20th century: a tango by Leroy Anderson, the traditional “Irish Party in Third Class” (made too famous by “Titanic”) and John Lennon’s and Paul McCartney’s “Eleanor Rigby.”

There’ll be more, but that’s why you must show up. (Parking assistance is provided.)

A freewill donation is encouraged: the Flagler Youth Orchestra is a product of the Flagler County School district, which subsidizes much of its operations. But it’s only through extensive fund-raising by the Friends of the Youth Orchestra that the orchestra ensures that about a third of its performers, who cannot afford instruments on their own, are provided scholarships that place those instruments in their hands. A single violin costs $200 at the lowest end, a cello costs $900.

The Youth Orchestra’s sole mission beyond these performances is to provide free music education after school to all Flagler children with a desire to play an instrument. It has done so for the past 14 years.

A reception with the members of the orchestra will follow the concert. For more information about the Concert Series, call (386) 445-1600.

For more information on the Flagler Youth Orchestra, contact Cheryl Tristam, program director, at (386) 503-3808 or by email at Cheryl@flagleryouthorchestra.org.

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