From July 6th to July 24th the Charles County Youth Orchestra will present a three-week Chamber Music Festival at the Alice Ferguson Foundation in Accokeek, MD. This wonderful opportunity for students is open to all music students aged 10 to 18. Upon acceptance, individual students will be assigned to a duo, trio, or quartet. Pre-formed groups are also welcome.

Each group will be coached one hour daily for four days, and then each weekly session will culminate in a rehearsal and concert on Saturday at 5 pm. at the Alice Ferguson Foundation’s Cafritz Center.

The dates for each of the three sessions and concerts are:

  • Session 1: July 6-10; Concert July 10
  • Session 2: July 13-17; Concert July 17
  • Session 3: July 20 -24; Concert July 24

If the student is already a member of CCYO or one of its other three ensembles the fee will be $40 per session and no audition is required. For non CCYO members the fee will be $50 per session and an online audition is required.

The deadline for application is June 15, 2021. More information and application forms can be found at The Rotary Club of La Plata has generously underwritten this program so that student fees can remain low.

Last summer CCYO’s inaugural Chamber Music concert was also held the Alice Ferguson Foundation. Because of the pandemic, all coaching was done online but the final short rehearsal and concert were live in front of a limited audience of family members. One student said that “The programming was really amazing. The music selections were very diverse, with baroque, classical, and contemporary pieces. It really helped me to learn to appreciate different genres of music. When I first listened to one of the pieces we had been given, I thought I wouldn’t like it, but as I started to learn the piece, I really grew to love it. Being open to different types of music is extremely important as a musician and will encourage us to further our knowledge on the ever- changing subject of music.” Blythe M.

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 Charles County Youth Orchestra’s concerts,” 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, CCYO has held weekly online meetings where the students were coached on their parts for the online concerts and performed solo pieces for each other to keep motivation high during monthly Performance Lab meetings. CCYO has also had an amazing line up of masterclass teachers since the pandemic began with teachers from the National Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, Colorado Symphony, US Marine Corps Band and the Catholic University of America School of Music.

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.

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, and the Neighborhood Creative Arts Center of La Plata as well as generous donations from individuals.

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