The student musicians of the Bakersfield Youth Symphony Orchestra have a really big year ahead of them.
The student orchestra begins its season this Sunday at Dore Theatre, performing a movement from the Piano Concerto No. 2 by Sergei Rachmaninoff, the suite “Lieutenant Kije’” by Sergei Prokofiev and film music by John Williams.
Normally the BYSO musicians would resume their rehearsal schedule, preparing for their spring concert, and they will do that. But they will also be preparing for several performances with the Bakersfield Symphony: Student soloists Alex Bailey will perform the Third Movement from Max Bruch’s Violin Concerto, and Abby Higgins will perform from Strauss’ Concerto No. 1 for Horn next Thursday morning for the BSO’s Young People’s Concerts. The following Saturday, a student string quartet will perform in the Rabobank Theater lobby at the BSO’s regular subscription concert, while 17 student string players will perform the “Leonore Overture” No. 1 by Beethoven with the orchestra.
BSO executive director Kari Heilman said this kind of involvement will continue all season long.
“For our 2018-19 year, the BSO is focusing on youth, community and mentoring,” Heilman wrote in an email.
Heilman said the students will be incorporated into every BSO concert this season.
The student string quartet players will perform in the lobby for the February and April concerts, and student soloist Kelsey Jian will perform from the Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 2 with the BSO. Jian is also the soloist for this weekend’s youth symphony performance.
The Stockdale High senior has been studying the piano since she was 5 years old, beginning with Jung Spooner in Lawrence, Kan., and then in Bakersfield with Bonnie Bogle Farrer when Jian entered the sixth grade. Jian also studies violin with Rebecca Brooks and performs with the BYSO string quartet.
Saving the best for last, the entire youth orchestra will perform at the beginning of the BSO’s season finale in May.
That should be enough for any student organization, but the BYSO has an even bigger project to work on this season: BYSO board president Regina Pryor said the students have been invited to perform in the Bakersfield Sister City of Wakayama, Japan, in April.
“While we are in Wakayama we will be performing at some of their schools, and there will be a big concert with their international Children’s Choir and their Municipal Band,” Pryor wrote in an email.
Pryor said the students will perform Stravinsky’s “Firebird,” selections for George Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess,” and will join the Wakayama ensembles for musical selections.
In between all the performances and rehearsals, the students are still raising money to help pay for the trip, which beings April 12, with students returning on April 20. Pryor said the trip will cost about $2,800 per student, so the students are helping fundraise — selling raffle tickets, and performing at the BYSO fundraiser “Sweet Tooth Serenade and Silent Auction” on Dec. 2.