At some point, all musicians are going to have to deal with the stresses of auditioning. And while this is an important skill to master, there’s also something to be said for letting young musicians develop a love for the art first.
That’s the option the Douglas County Youth Orchestra (DCYO) has embraced.
“Instead of traditional auditions, we hold open rehearsals. This allows the students to bring their instruments and sit in the group and play with us,” said Thomas A. Blomster, the orchestra’s music director and conductor. “While we have divergent levels of students, all students want to be there, and they learn how to own their position in the orchestra, regardless of ability.”
The DCYO will be performing two winter concerts in Castle Rock to celebrate the season — the first at 11:15 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 8 at Christ’s Episcopal Church, 615 Fourth St., and the second at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 9 at New Hope Presbyterian Church, 3737 New Hope Way.
A professional percussionist and conductor for 45 years, Blomster believes in setting high expectations for orchestra members as a way to challenge them and hone their musical skills.
“My expectations both musically and behaviorally are of the highest level,” he said. “In addition, we bring in professional coaches to work with the students in sectionals as well. I believe the DCYO is unique in the metropolitan area as it offers these experiences at the lowest price of any youth orchestra in Colorado.”
The upcoming winter concerts are the culmination of a semester’s worth of work. Not only is it a chance for the students to shine, but it takes their learning to another level.
“One of the reasons we perform a concert twice is because the first performance will ‘hardwire’ a lot of things, and the second performance gives the students a chance to do it again, but with a different perspective,” Blomster explained. “I do my best to choose repertoire that is both a challenge to the students, and introduces both standard orchestral works with lesser-known pieces, including sometimes premieres of new works.”
For more information on the shows and DCYO, visit www.douglascountyyouthorchestra.org.
Fine arts, ceramics and more for sale
There is all manner of holiday shopping options available for those in search of the perfect gift this season. Many people are looking for options that sends money to local businesses and organizations, and one of the best local options supports local artists.
The 32nd Annual Fine Art Market and 11th Annual ACES Ceramics Show and Sale returns to the Arvada Center, 6901 Wadsworth Blvd., through Dec. 16.
The market features all original works in a wide range of media, size, and price by more than 90 artists throughout the state. Items for shoppers to buy include jewelry, handwoven pieces, metalsmithing and many more. The market is open from noon to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday through Thursday, from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. from and Sunday and Monday.
The 11th annual ACES Ceramics Show features work by the Arvada Center’s ceramic instructors and students. This sale features the work of 50 instructors and students who have taken advantage of the center’s ceramic’s studio. The ACES sale is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Monday through Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday.
For more information on the sales, call 720-898-7200 or visit www.arvadacenter.org.
Colorado Mormon Chorale to sing with symphony
Few things capture the holiday season for yours truly as much as music does. Some of the most beautiful music in Western culture has been written and composed to celebrate Christmas.
Every year, the Lakewood Symphony and Colorado Mormon Chorale gather together for a free Christmas concert at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, 6465 W. Jewell Ave., at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 6 and 7.
Instead of paying for a ticket, donations are accepted to benefit the Second Wind Fund Youth Suicide Prevention. For more information, visit www.lakewoodsymphony.org.
Clarke’s Concert of the Week — The Helio Sequence at Globe Hall
A lot of the most important albums of my college years have been celebrating their 10th anniversaries last and this year, and it makes me feel both incredibly old and appreciative of the impact music can have during the formative times.
The Helio Sequence’s fourth album, “Keep Your Eyes Ahead” is one of those important albums, and one that recently celebrated a decade of existence. To celebrate the milestone, band members Brandon Summers and Benjamin Weikel will be performing at the Globe Hall, 4483 Logan St. in Denver, at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 11.
The alt-rock duo has released six full-length albums and several EPs during their career. As musicians from the Pacific Northwest, they trade in the kind of atmospheric rock that have made groups like Death Cab for Cutie and Band of Horses nationally known acts.
As a unique concert feature, the show will kick off with a barbeque at the Globe at 6 p.m. Diners will get to sample small-batch oak-smoked pulled pork, beef brisket and turkey breast. There will be sandwiches, tacos, quarter-pound veggie burgers, mac-n-cheese, citrus slaw and potato salad.
For tickets, visit www.globehall.com/event/1753218-helio-sequence-denver.
Clarke Reader’s column on culture appears on a weekly basis. He can be reached at Clarke.Reader@hotmail.com.
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