The Idaho Falls Youth Symphony is waltzing into its new season by playing a program full of dance pieces at its Thursday concert.
Nearly 100 local middle- and high-schoolers are playing with the Youth Symphony for this year’s concerts. Thursday’ show is called “Dances from Around the World” and features a range of orchestral pieces, from selections from “Lord of the Dance” to classical orchestral standards by Antonin Dvorak and Alexander Borodin.
Emily Caballero, 17, is entering her fifth year of playing with the Youth Symphony. In her final year with the symphony, the Hillcrest High School student is nervous about being the lead player in the cello section for the first time.
“It’s difficult sometimes because the music is hard, but it’s really wonderful. There’s just a good atmosphere,” Caballero said.
First founded in 1989 as the Eastern Idaho Youth Symphony, the Idaho Falls Youth Symphony has been the major ensemble for high school musicians in the region. Diane Soelberg works as the director of bands at Brigham Young University-Idaho and is conducting the youth symphony for her second year.
The majority of the students also play with bands and orchestras at their schools and will only have held 11 rehearsals since September to prepare for the symphony concert. To help them rehearse, members from the Idaho Falls Symphony have assisted the students over the last few months with private lessons and visits to the rehearsals.
“It’s nice to have them come to our rehearsals and have them assist with sectionals or help the kids prepare the pieces,” Soelberg said.
The Thursday concert is the first of two performances that the Idaho Falls Youth Symphony holds every year. The second concert will be May 1 and will include performances by the two winners of the symphony’s concerto competition, Rigby High School’s Isaac Lee on the piano and Tayloview Junior High School’s Claire Yoo on the violin. Around the time of the spring concert, students will audition to join the group for the 2019-2020 season.
Soelberg knows that for many of the seniors, these concerts could be some of their last opportunities to perform on their instrument.
“Hopefully they’ll all choose to either continue to play their instruments or support the arts in some other way,” she said.
Some students will continue playing in college and some even end up returning to join the Idaho Falls Symphony. Ariel Loveland, the second chair violinist for the symphony and the assistant to the Youth Symphony, played with the Youth Symphony in high school. Caballero hopes to major in music composition in college and keep playing her cello for at least the next few years.
“It would be sad if I had to stop playing with these ensembles,” she said.
Idaho Falls Youth Symphony will perform its free concert at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Civic Center for the Performing Arts, 501 S. Holmes Ave.