The Charles County Youth Orchestra (CCYO) with Prelude Strings, Encore Band and Encore Strings performed their first live in-person concert since 2020 on Saturday May 8. CCYO is one of the largest youth organizations in Southern Maryland, providing music education and performance opportunities for talented young musicians ages 8 to 18 in Charles, Prince George’s, St. Mary’s and Calvert counties.

Because of Covid 19 regulations, performances were presented at three different times – 1:00, 3:00, and 5:00 PM – and were only open to the family members. The concerts were held outdoors on the beautiful grounds of the Alice Ferguson Foundation in Accokeek, MD.

For the 1:00 PM concert Prelude Strings, directed by Dr Teri Lazar, performed a program of music by Vivaldi, Clark and the soundtrack from the movie Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  Additionally, the Encore Band, directed by Takako Mato, performed pieces by Merken, Shaffer and Joplin. The 3:00 PM segment of the concert featured the Encore Strings, directed by Dr. Krisztina Noble, performing works by Romeser, Bach and Vaughan Williams. Finally, Dr Osman Kivrak, Director of the Charles County Youth Orchestra, led the CCYO in a program of music by Mozart, Handel, Pachelbel and his own rendition of a Turkish folk song “Tamzara”.

Theresa Cullen, Executive Director of the Alice Ferguson Foundation, introduced the concert and said that “We are thrilled to host the Charles County Youth Orchestra once again at Hard Bargain Farm. The great outdoors provides the perfect backdrop for these young musicians to showcase their talents.”

At the 5:00 PM performance Chris Zabriskie, President of the Rotary Club of Charles County presented Dr. Kivrak with a check for $4,000 to support the CCYO’s 2020 Chamber Music Festival which will be held in July at the Alice Ferguson Foundation.

In preparation for these concerts, rehearsals were held online except for a short run-through immediately prior to the concert.

Despite the inconveniences and difficulties of the pandemic, CCYO and its ensembles have been very busy: they completed eight online orchestra concerts, performance labs once per month, and five master classes with world class artists from the Pittsburgh Symphony, Colorado Symphony and National Symphony in addition to weekly rehearsals.

Upcoming events open to the public include the CCYO Concerto Competition concert June 5 at Christ Church, La Plata and CCYO Chamber Festival Concerts on July 10, 17 and 24 at the Alice Ferguson Foundation.

Auditions for the 2021-2022 season will be held in September.

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. Pinot on the Potomac, their annual fundraising event, will be held on June 5 at 5:00 PM and the CCYO directors will be performing at this event. Information at

The Rotary Club of Charles County raises funds during its annual Lobster Festival which is scheduled to be held on Sunday, September 26th at the Charles County Fairgrounds. The Rotary Club of Charles County is a Community Service Organization made up of business people and professionals who uphold the high ethical values of Rotary.

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 Charles County, 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.

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply