The Kokomo Symphony hosted the 1996 Spring Youth Concert
on May 5 at Grace united Methodist Church.  This well
attended concert featured three ensembles:  the Kokomo
Symphony Youth Orchestra, the Training Orchestra and the
Beginning Strings Ensemble.

Moo Il Rhee, conductor and instructor of the Beginning
Strings introduced the audience to his ensemble.  As they
tuned, one couldn't help but notice how bright and resonant
the sanctuary's acoustics were.  First was violinist Daniel
Kelly performing an a cappella version of the traditional
May Song.  His half-size violin filled the hall to the
delight of many.  The whole ensemble followed, showcasing
pizzicato and bowing techniques in a set of variations of
Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.  Flas photos weren't
discouraged and were fairly common as parents recorded
their youngsters' mastery of the string fundamentals.

Following a brief intermission, the Training Orchestra
took the stage.  Conductor Edward Golightly opened his
portion of the program with Match Maker from the popular
Broadway musical "Fiddler On the Roof".  The waltz was
light on its feet, the high strings carrying the familiar
tune.  This made for a nice contrast to the Caponegro
arrangement of Pachebel's Cannon in D.  The Cannon starts
with the continuo in the low strings as contrapuntal
variations and harmonies are built upon it in the violins
and violas.  The center piece of the Training Orchestra's
performance was the Contre Danse en Rondeau from Mozart's
Divertimento No. 8, K. 213.  Obviously an orchestra
favorite, it wanted to lift the heart away.  Mr. Golightly
adeptly kept a light hand on the reins without breaking
the orchestra's high spirit.

Quite possibly the bravest man in the hall Sunday was
Gregory Pritchard, Conductor of the Kokomo Symphony
Youth Orchestra.  Mr. Pritchard, who also serves as the
Associate Conductor for the Kokomo Symphony and is a fine
bassoonist in his own right, programmed an unusually
agressive set for this concert.  The program shows a
veritable Who's Who of composers from the 1750's to
the 1970's.

Percussion and brass set the stage with bold and
forceful statements in Aaron Copland's Fanfare for the
Common Man.  The Youth Orchestra's brass projected well.
Especialy notable were the trumpet opening and the
all-senior trombone section near the end of the piece.

The high strings, playing quietly in their lower range
showed a mature sensitivity and tenderness while
accompanying bassoon soloist Adam Cruea in the haunting
Berceuse from Igor Stravinski's The Firebird.  The piece
should paint a bleak and forboding mood on the soul; it
was highly effective.  The light that pierced the gloom
and led to the triumphant Finale was Debra Beatty's
French horn.  Her magnificent clear tone and flawless
execution was the highlight of the concert.  Symphonies
in Kokomo are blessed with exceptionally strong horn
sections and the Youth Symphony is no exception.
Grace Bausom's harp added a wonderful presence to the
low line, nicely complementing both pizzicato and
arco cello passages.

Strings were showcased in the Allegro from Mozart's
Eine Kleine Nachtmusik.  Mr. Pritchard gave the baton
to Jacob Chi, currently a conductor at Miami University.
The audience found that a little bit of night music
in the afternoon was nice.

The orchestra was stretched by posing contemporary
composer Charles Ives' The Unanswered Question.  Not
truly a melodic work, it is interesting non the less.
 Strings set a mood as unthinking Druids, while an
antiphonal solo trumpet, played by Jeff Little, and the
flute choir attempt to communicate.  The trumpet asks a
question over again; the flute choir becomes more and
more agitated in its answer, as the trumpet is never
satisfied.  I doubt this was the ensembles favorite
piece.  Likely it was somewhat akin to Castor oil:
it is good for you, but no one really likes it.

The concert ended the way all should:  flashy,
flamboyant, and loud.  The Offenbach "Orpheus in the
Underworld", well known for its Can-Can finale, fit
the bill.  Played enthusiastically, the brass section
stood during the final chorus.  Moments later the whole
orchestra stood to acknowledge the applause earned for
the hard work spent in preparation.  Bravissimo!

Review by:

John Christenson, Kokomo Tribune Contributor,
840 N 500E, Kokomo, IN  46901