EYSO faculty concert a 'gift' to the community
When Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestra artistic director Randal Swiggum asked an audience not to clap between performances Sunday, it was an attempt at keeping the packed program to just one hour.
The request was honored for the first two songs, but after Chicago Symphony Orchestra cellist Brant Taylor finished a lively piece with David Anderson on piano, listeners couldn't quite keep their delight in check.
Taylor coaches the EYSO's Maud Powell String Quartet, and Anderson is the Philharmonia conductor for the EYSO. Both joined their fellow faculty members for a free recital at Elgin Community College Sunday, with donations going toward student scholarships.
The second annual faculty recital drew a crowd almost double the size of last year, filling ECC's Spartan Auditorium.
"We want to do it as a gift to our parents and our kids," Swiggum said. "It's just good to see the enthusiasm."
Young musicians and their teachers followed the performance with rehearsals — it was the Sinfonia ensemble's 3:15 p.m. start that necessitated a strict schedule.
Swiggum said the show was a chance to inspire students who, as some of the best musicians in their schools, don't often get to hear performers who are better than themselves. The teachers also modeled a collaborative approach to music that Swiggum said sets the EYSO apart from other symphonies pushing kids through competition.
Jenna Thelen, 12, of Carpentersville, is a first-year member of the EYSO's Prelude Orchestra. As a cellist, she was blown away by a program that featured her instrument more than any other. After the concert, Thelen said it was hard to comprehend talent like Taylor's, adding that the recital provided a good lesson in performing.
"You've got to feel the music and just really have heart out there," Thelen said.
Jacqueline Fisher, director of the EYSO's Chamber Music Institute, said the recital also gave students a chance to see how smaller ensembles work. They give musicians the opportunity to perform as soloists with the added comfort of having other people on the stage at the same time. Chamber music is most often written for three, four or five parts. And it gives musicians a way to keep performing beyond participation in full orchestras.
"It's nice for them to see it's not just something for a short time," Fisher said. "Chamber music is something for forever."
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