NJSO Youth Orchestras Spotlight: A Day in the Life
NJSO Youth Orchestras Spotlight Presented by M&T Bank
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NJSO Director of Education Joanna Borowski chronicles a full day of NJSO Youth Orchestras rehearsals.
Our story begins in Bradley Hall, on the Rutgers-Newark campus, early on a Saturday morning …
Sign-in sheets are out, schedules are posted. As the rehearsal stage manager begins transforming three classrooms into orchestra rehearsal rooms, a few early birds arrive to help.
Students continue to trickle in, signing in at the lobby table before taking the elevator to their designated floor. There is a bustle of activity outside each classroom since new music for the semester is available for pickup. The sounds of tuning intensify as more and more students take their seats.
Downbeat! Artistic Director José Luis Domínguez welcomes the Academy Orchestra back after the winter break. After acknowledging the recent co-winners of the Henry Lewis Concerto Competition—violinists Caleb Shi and Yoo Jin Kang—he begins rehearsal with a reading of Copland’s “Hoe Down” from Rodeo. Everyone is fully awake now!
The first parent meeting of the season concludes with a discussion by the Orchestra Parents’ Association about volunteer needs for the semester. In addition to weekly volunteering on rehearsal days, parents also provide a potluck lunch at the end of the semester and serve in various roles on concert day. YO parents are an essential part of our community! As the meeting ends and parents disperse, preparations for rehearsal break (featuring bagels donated by Bagel Chateau in Westfield) are finalized.
Rehearsal breaks are over, and the Academy Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra return to rehearsals. String Ensemble is finished for the day, with leader Naomi Youngstein enthusing about how well the first session went. A few SE students who are waiting for parents (or siblings still in rehearsal) take a well-deserved breather.
The Chamber Orchestra violas are deeply engaged in their sectional. The positive energy is palpable! Coach Kathleen Foster leads a demonstration of the passage they’ve been polishing: “Don’t rush, play the right notes, and have fun!”
Academy Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra conclude for the day, with instructions from conductors José Luis Domínguez and Henry Kao to practice! There is a flurry of activity as students and parents help put chairs and stands away and restore the rooms.
The action has transferred to Newark’s Arts High School, where the Training Ensemble has gathered for the last rehearsal of the YO day. Preparatory classes meet individually with their teachers, while the maestro group is working on a rhythmically difficult piece. Volunteer mentors from AO and CO are assisting in each of the sections, along with NJSO musician-coaches.
After a full day of music making, rehearsals come to an end! The artistic director and coaches gather for a brief meeting, while students help restore their rooms and make their way to meet parents for the trek home.
More NJSO Youth Orchestras Spotlights
NJSO Youth Orchestras Spotlight presented by M&T Bank.