March of 2021 was Youth Celebration Month, but don't worry - if you missed out on the fun, all of our virtual concerts and activities are still online!
In March of 2020, NSS’s Youth Concerts were its last live theatre performances of the season before the Covid-19 lockdowns terminated live events.
This year, NSS resolved to continue our 20 year history of annual Youth Concerts, despite continued restrictions on live performances. NSS decided to produce the Youth Concerts in a 100% virtual format. The theme was “Conversations”. Small groups of musicians replaced a full orchestra. Musicians rehearsed and performed remotely or, if living together, recorded their performances at home. The musicians also contributed short instrument demos and personal introductions. Music Director Scott Seaton and NSS staff worked together to produce the storyboard, video, and supplementary education material entirely within house.
NSS produced two concert videos: one for young people in 1st grade and above, and one for our littlest viewers. On the left, photo of a pre-schooler enjoying the Little One's concert with her grandmother from home.
CONVERSATIONS Teacher Resource Guide for Little One's Concert - click to download
CONVERSATIONS Teacher Resource Guide for Young People's Concert - click to download
Conversations Young People's Concert Video
Conversations Little One's Concert Video
Additionally, NSS took the entire month of March 2021 to celebrate North State youth. This celebration began with two brand new “Just Ask” videos, where Scott interviewed student musicians and soloists. Following these live interviews, NSS released three previously unreleased videos from past concerts, featuring these same young artists.
March’s month-long celebration of youth continued with NSS’s Young Artist Auditions. This annual concerto competition also became virtual this year, with high school and college students submitting their audition videos for Scott and a panel of judges to review. Winners were announced on April 1, and we look forward to working these talented young performers next season.
When our Youth Concert video was released to North State teachers and educators, NSS spent a week visiting select schools virtually! Scott hosted our youth concert video on Zoom to classrooms, with a live introduction and question and answer sessions.
This format was an informative experiment and a great success! Attendees were very engaged, enthusiastic, and Scott was able to field over 75 individual questions from participants. Most exciting of all, we reached the broadest geographic spread of any youth concert in NSS history - with participating schools from Sacramento to the Oregon border.
NSS is proud of our outreach to young people throughout the North State, and we’re grateful that technology helped us continue this important work during a time when arts organizations are off stage. We hope to incorporate these new tools and outreach opportunities in the future.
Youth Concert Sponsors
Chuck and Joan Genthe
Praise for NSS Youth Concert Q and A Sessions
Mountain View Middle School
Ruth Polcari, Teacher
“Thanks for including our school on the Virtual Tour. It was a great event and the students enjoyed it! It's so good for the music community, helping students to become excited about music again in the schools. It has been a very hard year. These concerts are so good in regular times, but this year they were special.”
Our last virtual concert of the season, "To The Fore", is coming to you on May 6th!
In this finale of our 20th season, we celebrate composers and works that use exotic combinations of instruments and orchestral colors to tell unique stories.
The concert begins with Ellen Taaffe Zwilich's Chamber Symphony, a work whose elaborate melodic writing and rich and varied sonorities explore a profound world of “grief, outrage, and bewilderment” (New York Times).
Next is Jennifer Higdon's Dark Wood, featuring NSS principal bassoonist Jarratt Rossini with a dizzy whirlwind of fast-paced chromatic phrases, competing against an array of rhythmic and percussive elements from the whole ensemble. Higdon encourages the listener to form their own impressions while experiencing the bassoon’s extraordinary sonic versatility that stems from the beauty of its “dark wood”.
The program and our season conclude with the light-hearted suite from the ballet La Revue de Cuisine by Bohuslav Martinu, a witty jazz-inspired toe-tapping comedy with a bizarre story where kitchen utensils come to life in a romantic culinary soap opera.
We're thrilled to welcome Maestro Seaton back to the podium to conduct all three pieces, with our largest chamber music ensembles of the season.
During the entire week of March 22nd, this season's all-new and all-virtual Youth Concerts will be available in two different formats, from pre-recorded/on-demand, to pre-recorded but with live, interactive Q&A sessions with Maestro Seaton visiting classrooms and students in their homes virtually.
March kicks off with special youth-oriented editions of our "Just Ask!" interview series accompanied by Watch Parties / YouTube Premiere performances.