Opportunity knocks for talented young musicians

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A trio of talented young local musicians have been given a major boost after successfully auditioning for places with a leading US programme.

The youngsters from the Antigua and Barbuda Youth Symphony Orchestra (ABYSO) will benefit from the expertise of the Metropolitan Youth Symphony (MYS) in Portland, Oregon, which provides tuition and performance opportunities for musical children of all ages.

The initiative began this month and runs to December 19, with three-hour weekly sessions held via Zoom.

Oboist Elysia Armstrong and bassoonist Jeiel Charles are rehearsing with the MYS Sinfonietta Orchestra – an intermediate orchestra that introduces youngsters to fun and challenging music at a crucial time in their artistic development.

The Sinfonietta works under the direction of celebrated Venezuelan conductor Giancarlo Castro D’Addona, formerly a member of the Simon Bolívar Orchestra. The youngsters will cover symphonic repertoire, music from films, video games, Broadway shows, and polish their ensemble playing abilities.

Trombonist Jeshaun Charles is a member of the Interlude Orchestra conducted by MYS music director Raúl Gómez. This is also a full orchestra and musicians must be able to demonstrate a pleasant tone, accurate intonation and good rhythm skills.

“I was delighted when I found out that I was selected to be part of the MYS three-month virtual programme,” Charles said. “I have been playing the trombone for two years, and this opportunity with the MYS Interlude Ensemble will only enhance my musical skills as a trombonist so that I can, in turn, give back to the ABYSO.

“I promise to work hard so that I can represent my parents, Antigua and Barbuda and ABYSO well,” he added.

The ABYSO was introduced to the MYS by one of its strategic partners, Raúl Vergara, of the Global Leaders Program.

Speaking of the selections, Gomez said, “We are delighted to welcome these talented young musicians from Antigua and Barbuda into our ensembles. We are thankful to the Global Leaders Program for the connection. We hope that this is an opportunity that will open new doors for music students from different countries, and will enrich the experience of our own local students in Portland.”

Email [email protected] for more information about the orchestra.

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