Young musicians to play Concert Hall

Lambert leads Youth Symphony in annual concert

Nathan Lambert leads the Durango Youth Symphony during a rehearsal for Monday’s spring concert at the Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College. Enlarge photo

Judith Reynolds/Special to the Herald

Nathan Lambert leads the Durango Youth Symphony during a rehearsal for Monday’s spring concert at the Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College.

When Jacob Candelaria, 17, delivers a stunning, opening wail on his clarinet, you know Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” is off to a solid start.

And so it was at a rehearsal earlier week for the upcoming Four Corners Youth Symphony concert Monday night. The Ignacio teenager studies with Fort Lewis College clarinet professor Joshua Mietz, and he’s part of the orchestra, preparing for its annual spring concert. The youth symphony has come a long way since its founding in 2005.

Peppered with FLC music majors and a few faculty members, the orchestra fundamentally exists for regional music students to participate in an advanced-level ensemble. I’ve watched it grow from its first rehearsal in 2005. Now the organization has changed its name to include more ensembles, incorporate FLC music students, and beef up sections with the odd faculty member. It’s almost a miracle to see and hear what Director Nathan Lambert has achieved.

On Monday, the Youth Symphony will perform works by Copland, DeBeriot and Gershwin. Winner of the organization’s concerto competition, violinist Nolan Reed, will perform the Allegro maestoso from Charles DeBeriot’s Concerto No.9 with the orchestra. The second place winner, violinist Mallory Shanks, will perform the opening movement of Haydn’s Concerto in G Major, accompanied by pianist Mika Inyoue. In addition, the full ensemble will perform Copland’s beloved “Variations on a Shaker Melody.”

The big centerpiece will be Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” with FLC piano major Adam Swanson, 21, as soloist. Playing from memory, Swanson brings not only his natural talent to Gershwin’s jazzy score, he brings his mastery of ragtime piano. Only last weekend, Swanson organized and performed in the first Durango Ragtime and Early Jazz Festival at the Strater Theatre. He also performed the duo piano version of Gershwin’s concerto with his FLC piano professor Lisa Campi Walters. If you missed that, here’s your chance to hear the orchestral version complete with clarinet glissando and the saucy muted trumpet parts that echo the human voice. They will be played by FLC music major TaSheena Calvillo, whose splendid senior recital took place in late February.

If you love Gershwin, don’t miss this concert.

On Thursday, also in the Concert Hall, the FLC Percussion Ensembles will put on its rambunctious spring concert featuring works by a number of contemporary composers and one oldie, but very goodie.

The most unusual work is a piece for voices and mallet instruments. Director Jonathan Latta welcomes two voice faculty members, Charissa Chiaravalloti and Veronica Turner, and music major, Sara Tompkins, to layer long vocal lines, tones and colors to create Steve Reich’s interpretation of African music. Latta will play the marimba and be joined by other marimbists, two glockenspielers and a vibraphone.

Other works include “Bomba,” by Lou Harrison, for a percussion quintet, “Away Without Leave,” by Bob Becker for a drum quintet, and “Fractalia,” by Owen Condon for a quartet of players on various percussion instruments.

Not to be forgotten is a nod to J.S. Bach with a marimba and vibraphone arrangement of the Prelude and Fugue No. 10, and that other classic, “Dotty Dimples,” played by xylophone soloist Kyle Hollerbach. If you love the xylophone, be there. Judith Reynolds is a Durango writer, artist and critic.