By Auzinea Bacon
The College Park Youth Orchestra hosted a live performance at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church on Dec. 4 which also featured the College Park Youth Band, along with the orchestra’s repertory and chamber ensembles. The orchestra, which typically stages spring and fall concerts, has been performing for the community since 2006. This was their first live concert since the start of the pandemic. Turnout for the event was impressive, with virtually every seat in the hall filled.
College Park Arts Exchange President Richard Biffl noted that being able to offer a live performance meant everything to the elementary and middle school students who played in the orchestra. The students had practiced through the pandemic without being able to work together in the same room. Biffl addressed the challenge: “It’s hard to play harmony by yourself, playing in an orchestra allows them to hear what was written for their instruments,” he said, noting that their hard work had more than paid off.
The College Park Youth Band, directed by Sarah Winston, played one of their favorites, a zombie-themed song inspired by pop culture. One student, an eighth grader who has been playing with the band for a number of years, had the honor of being a soloist. “They knew it was calling his name,” she said.
The audience was fully engaged, so engrossed in the performance that they hummed along to many tunes.
Ruth Edissah, mother of an orchestra member and enthusiastic supporter of the group, thought that the students had done an excellent job. She said that the orchestra managed to bring the community together in a beautiful and seamless way.
“I’m all for it, one hundred and ten thousand percent,” she said. “It’s important to have groups and organizations like this.”