News Release, Charles County Youth Orchestra and Alice Ferguson Foundation
As life slowly begins to return to normal after months of disruptions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Charles County Youth Orchestra has prepared another virtual concert to celebrate Independence Day after their successful online debut in May.
CCYO was scheduled to perform an Independence Day Concert at the Alice Ferguson Foundation in Accokeek, Maryland on June 27th. This new online concert features three of the pieces that would have been performed live at that concert: Simple Gifts, an American Shaker hymn; film music from “The Avengers” by Alan Silvestri and the Star Spangled Banner. Students performing in this online concert are from all four of CCYO’s ensembles: Prelude Strings, Encore Band, Encore Strings and the Charles County Youth Symphony and range in age from 10 to 18.
This concert also features scenes from the beautiful property of the Alice Ferguson Foundation. Located on a historic farm on the shores of the Potomac River, the Alice Ferguson Foundation programs connect thousands of students, educators, communities throughout Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. to promote heritage, arts, education and environmental sustainability.
“We are delighted to be a part of this Charles County Youth Orchestra’s summer concert,” said Theresa Cullen, Alice Ferguson Foundation executive director. “Through our six decades of doing youth programs, we know how truly critical the arts and the outdoors are to the health and wellbeing of the next generation, and we are proud to support these talented young musicians.”
Since March, the orchestra held weekly online meetings where the students were coached on their parts for the recordings and performed solo pieces for each other to keep motivation high. These meetings have been popular among the students: according to CCYO violinist Blythe, “The virtual classes…are absolutely amazing. Not only are they a way to connect during a time when connection is difficult, but we are able to hear our peers perform…and receive feedback.”
The Charles County Youth Orchestra is one of the largest youth organizations in Southern Maryland providing music education and performance opportunities for talented young musicians in Charles County, Prince Georges County, St. Mary’s County and Calvert County.
CCYO serves more than 100 students total each year and our organization consists of four ensembles: Prelude Strings, Encore Strings, Encore Band, and the CCYO.
In addition to weekly rehearsals and the two main concerts, students perform for the Kris Kringle Marketplace event, the Arts Fest in La Plata, pre-concert performances at the Davies Concert Series in Camp, and beginning this year a new Concerto Competition. Other educational activities include master classes, sectional rehearsals and – the newest offering-chamber music!
The Charles County Youth Orchestra is sponsored in part by grants from the Charles County Arts Alliance, the Maryland State Arts Council, the Rotary Club of La Plata, MD and the Knights of Columbus of Accokeek, MD. Other major contributors include Potters Violins, Gailes Violin Shop, Bullock’s Piano Salon East and the Neighborhood Creative Arts Center of La Plata.