Wednesday, October 25, 2017

The Florida Youth Symohony at the Bob Carr.

Heide Evans Waldron invited me to sketch the 61st Season Opener featuring all of the Florida Symphony Youth Orchestras at the Bob Carr Theatre (401 W Livingston St, Orlando, FL 32801). I walked to the concert. The gutters around Lake Eola still had shards of rainbow colored confetti left over from the Pride Parade. Outside the Bob Carr, the remnants of a Blue Box could be seen. The sidewalk had been ripped up during recent construction, but two blue strips remained behind painted on the curb.

All the youth classical orchestras were featured at this concert. As always, academic and music educators receive complimentary admission to this and all FSYO season subscription concerts. A common thread throughout the concert was how honored each conductor was to work with these talented kids each Sunday.

I kind of groaned to myself when the youngest orchestra took to the stage. The theatre was about half full. Clearly most of the audience was full of adoring parents. Sketching kept me sane. I couldn't help but think of Professor Henry Hill in  The Music Man who really didn't teach music at all, but the racket created at the concert still brought admiring parents to their feet. Actually, the kids on stage did an admirable job.

When one orchestra left the stage, another took its place. The classical music became increasingly recognizable and full of emotion. The real surprise of the concert was the first performance of the Youth Jazz Ensemble. Piano, electric guitar, saxophones, and trumpets performed toe-tapping jazz from Count Basie, Charlie Parker, and others.  

The FSYO's new Jazz Orchestra, conducted by Jeff Rupert, is a 17-20 piece ensemble that focuses on the study of big band jazz music. Students learn the theory behind jazz composition and improvisation and have the opportunity to do sectional work with some of the area's top jazz musicians.

The Youth Jazz Orchestra is for students ages 13 to 20. Though the majority of students fit into these age groups, upon request, exceptions are considered on a case-by-case basis at the discretion of the board, in consultation with the conductors. My sketch was finished, so I just relaxed and enjoyed the music. If I were in my teens, still playing trumpet, this ensemble would have been my ambition. They were tight. This music made me want to dance in the aisles.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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