La Plata, MD – The Charles County Youth Orchestra (CCYO) is set to host its much-anticipated Chamber Music Festival 2023, featuring two enchanting concerts at the picturesque garden of Christ Church. The performances, which will take place on consecutive Saturdays, July 22 and 29, at 8:00 p.m., will highlight the exceptional talents of CCYO participants and directors. In inclement weather, the concerts will be moved inside the church.

Audiences can expect captivating renditions of timeless compositions by renowned maestros such as Vivaldi, Joplin, Mozart, Mendelssohn, and Handel. CCYO’s accomplished string, wind, and brass players will bring these beautiful pieces to life, showcasing their dedication and artistry. The concerts promise a delightful experience for the whole family, and admission is free to the public.

Haley Gruwell, flute and Aaron Sellow, clarinet, 2022 Chamber Music Festival Performance Credit: Dr. Osman Kivrak / Charles County Youth Orchestra

Dr. Osman Kivrak, Director of CCYO, emphasized the positive impact of participating in CCYO and chamber music on students. He stated, “Participating in CCYO and chamber music helps students develop good working habits: teamwork, social and emotional skills, discipline, and perseverance while having fun performing great works of composers from all around the world.”

Rev. Dr. Kate Heichler, pastor of Christ Church, expressed enthusiasm about hosting the concerts. “We are delighted to be a part of these concerts by the Charles County Youth Orchestra,” she said. “The arts are essential to the health and well-being of the next generation, and we are proud to support CCYO.”

Aside from the Chamber Music Festival, CCYO has received recognition in various forms. The organization was featured in an online film by the Charles County Arts Alliance and garnered attention on WTOP radio. Additionally, two CCYO String Quartets made it to the prestigious Washington Performing Arts Society Misbin Chamber Music Competition finals in Washington, D.C.

CCYO holds multiple concerts annually, including two major performances and numerous smaller shows. They also offer a two-week Chamber Music Festival, a Concerto Competition Concert, masterclasses, and sectionals for students across all four of CCYO’s ensembles. In the previous season, CCYO ensembles delivered outstanding performances at venues such as the Port Tobacco Courthouse, Alice Ferguson Foundation, Nanjemoy Community Center, Kris Kringle at the Fairgrounds, Indian Head Village Green, and Christ Church in La Plata, where they successfully raised funds for victims of the Turkey-Syria Earthquake.

As one of Southern Maryland’s largest youth organizations, CCYO is dedicated to providing music education and performance opportunities for talented young musicians aged 8 to 18 in Charles, Prince George’s, St. Mary’s, and Calvert counties. The organization receives valuable support from various sponsors and contributors, including grants from the Charles County Arts Alliance, the Charles County Charitable Trust, the Maryland State Arts Council, the Rotary Club of Charles County, MD, and the Knights of Columbus of Accokeek, MD. Major musical instrument providers such as Potters Violins and Gailes Violin Shop and the Neighborhood Creative Arts Center of La Plata have also made substantial contributions. Generous donations from individuals further bolster CCYO’s mission.

Auditions will be held in September for those interested in joining CCYO for the 2023-2024 season. Additional information can be found at the official CCYO website:

Prepare to be captivated by the extraordinary talent at the CCYO Chamber Music Festival 2023. Mark your calendars for July 22 and 29 evenings at 8:00 p.m. and head to Christ Church’s garden for an unforgettable musical experience.

David M. Higgins II is an award-winning journalist passionate about uncovering the truth and telling compelling stories. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland, he has lived in several East...

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