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Youth orchestra will play in D.C.

Classical Movements Inc. usually coordinates performances for groups like the London Philharmonic or the National Symphony Orchestra, but this week, they’ve arranged for the Charlotte Symphony Youth Orchestra to perform in Washington, D.C.

About 80 area youth, between eighth and 12th grades, will travel to the nation’s capital Thursday.

They’ll perform Saturday at the Lang Theater at the Atlas Performing Arts Center. For the three days they’re in Washington, they’ll visit the Kennedy Center to hear the National Symphony Orchestra’s concert of Krzysztof Urbanski, and they’ll attend a master class with Ankush Kumar Bahl, assistant conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra. Sightseeing is also on the schedule.

The Charlotte Symphony Youth Orchestra hasn’t traveled to perform since 2002, when the group played at Carnegie Hall, said Chris Rydel, the CSYO’s manager.

“It is a big deal,” she said. “It’s a chance for them to show off what the Charlotte Symphony Youth Orchestra is outside our community.”

Other youth orchestras have been invited to attend the Saturday performance, said Neeta Helms, president of Classical Movements.

Members of the orchestra have said they’re delighted about the upcoming trip.

“I’m excited about the master classes that we’re having and the rehearsals with different conductors,” said Colby Hathaway, the CSYO’s principal oboist. Colby, 17, attends Cuthbertson High and will be a senior.

She said the orchestra usually practices 2 1/2 hours every Monday, but that the group has accelerated to three-hour practices in preparation for Washington, D.C.

The program they’ll play:

Ralph Vaughan Williams: “The Wasps Overture.”

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Flute Concerto in G K313, Allegro Maestoso (first movement); Zach Warren, flute solo.

Jean Sibelius: “Finlandia.”

Manuel de Falla: “Ritual Fire Dance.”

Engelbert Humperdinck: “Hansel und Gretel: Prelude, Hexenritt, Gingerbread Waltz”; “Song of the Sandman” and “Dream Pantomime.”

Klaus Badelt: “Pirates of the Caribbean.”

“ ‘Pirates’ is my favorite,” said Ginny Ryerson, who plays the trombone. “It’s such a good, classic movie overture that is always exciting to play.” Ginny, who was home-schooled, plans to attend the University of South Carolina in the fall.

Alex Kim, who just graduated from Charlotte Country Day and will attend N.C. State for chemical engineering, has played percussion in the orchestra for the past four years and said he’s looking forward to giving Charlotte a good reputation.

“It’s just spreading the word about how our orchestra program here in Charlotte is so strong,” he said of the Washington trip. “I think it’s a wonderful thing for us.”

Hannah Spear, a rising senior at Greyfriars Classical Academy who plays violin, said she’s learned a lot from participating in CSYO. She’s been in Charlotte Symphony Orchestra programs for the past seven years.

“Just listening to other people and learning to play as a group has taught me so much,” she said. “I’d love to play in a symphony someday.”

Joining the Charlotte Symphony Youth Orchestra is no small feat.

“It is very competitive,” Colby said. “It’s a very prestigious group to be in, and it’s held with a lot of respect. It’s an honor to be in it, and people compete pretty hard for the spots.”

Students must audition every year to be in the orchestra, and next year’s list of almost 90 students was announced last month.

Helms, the president of Classical Movements, said she is impressed with the orchestra.

“It’s very diverse program (they’ll play). It’s a complicated program, not easy stuff,” she said. “We’ve heard their recordings. They definitely, I would say, do a very, very fine job with the program that they play.”

Ruebens: 704-358-5294; Twitter: @YoungAchCLT
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