The last of Charles County Youth Orchestra’s Secret Garden Concerts in the beautiful Meditation Garden of Christ Church will be held Saturday, September 25 at 4:00 pm.

This final concert will begin with a performance of Franz Joseph Haydn’s Quartet in C major by CCYO Chamber Music Festival participants Esther Bonney and Alex Sze, violins, Joseph Bonney, viola and Candace Jackson, cello, followed by performances by the directors of the CCYO ensembles: CCYO director, Osman Kivrak, viola; Prelude Strings, director Teri Lazar, violin; Encore Strings director, Krisztina Noble, flute; and Encore Band director, Takako Mato, clarinet. Bill Hones, former Air Force Strings principal bassist, will join the CCYO directors as a guest artists.

The program will include works by Georg Philip Telemann, C.P.E. Bach, Francois Devienne, Maria Theresa von Paradis, Morton Gould, and Charles County resident, Mary Coy Whitmore. Whitmore’s “Scuttles for Solo Viola” will be performed by Dr. Kivrak and the composer be there to talk about her work.

The 2021 Secret Garden Concert series is sponsored by the Charitable Trust of Charles County and the concerts this year celebrate women composers. Featured women composers included in the three concerts are Rebecca Clarke, Elaine Fine, Maria Theresa von Paradis, and Mary Coy Whitmore.

Located in a historic district of La Plata, Christ Church has been a mainstay of the Charles County community since its founding in Port Tobacco in 1683. In recent years, the church has actively supported music in the area through opening its doors to recitals and concerts, hosting the CCYO Concerto Competition each year, and notably through its Open Mic series, “HeartSongs.”

“We are delighted to be a part of these concerts by the directors of the Charles County Youth Orchestra,” said Rev. Dr. Kate Heichler, Christ Church’s pastor. “The arts and the outdoors are essential to the health and wellbeing of the next generation, and we are proud to support CCYO. We are particularly happy to invite the public to discover the serenity and beauty of our Meditation Garden on Church Street – so few people even know it’s there, that we decided to call these performances the Secret Garden Concerts.”

Despite the inconveniences and challenges of the 2020-2021 season, CCYO and its four ensembles have been very busy: they completed eight online orchestra concerts, two live concerts, performance labs once per month, and master classes with world-class artists from the Pittsburgh Symphony, Colorado Symphony and National Symphony in addition to weekly rehearsals. The 2021 Chamber Music Festival at the Alice Ferguson Foundation was a great success cumulating with three live concerts.

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 Charitable Trust, Charles County Arts Alliance, the Maryland State Arts Council, the Rotary Club of Charles County, 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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