There’s cause for vibrant celebration by the Etowah Youth Orchestra, as three members have been selected to perform in the National High School Honors Orchestra, according to Director Mike Gagliardo.
And speaking of accomplished artists, Ruth (played by Meg Weidner) continues her search for self-discovery through yoga in the fourth episode of “Om Sweet Home,” now available for viewing on YouTube.
A national showcase
Etowah Youth Orchestra members Corey Butts, Elliot Russo and Nick Wyville have been selected to play in the National High School Honors Orchestra next March in Louisville, Ky. After the June audition, Butts was named second chair trumpet in the national orchestra, Russo was named principal percussion and Wyville was designated as principal timpani. Butts is from Ashville High School, Russo from Gadsden City High and Wyville is from Alexandria High.
“This is a tremendous honor for these three young men, for the EYO, and for the music education community throughout the state, but especially for Northeast Alabama,” said Gagliardo. “We are extremely proud of these talented young musicians, who are also fine young men, and we feel that this selection speaks volumes for the quality of music programs not just in our state, but specifically in our area.”
The National High School Honors Orchestra is a performing group of 120 competitively selected high-school musicians who assemble biennially to perform at the American String Teachers Association National Conference under the direction of an internationally recognized conductor. The mission of NHSHO is to inspire the most talented young musicians in each state to work toward excellence and then carry that excellence back to their own orchestras and on to a musical future.
Each of the three EYO honorees are evidently serious musicians who spend much of their free time rehearsing for EYO performances, which typically include contemporary and classical pieces.
“Music is a huge part of my life,” Butts said.
Once they take their places in the concert hall of the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts in March, the musicians will perform “Symphony No. 5 in D Minor, Opus 47” by Soviet composer Dmitri Shostakovich. Written in 1937, it was first performed by the Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra and received an ovation that lasted well over 30 minutes, according to “Discovering Music” by Howard D. McKinney.
“All of the students will face an entire new set of challenges in this work,” Gagliardo said. “Their hometown orchestras would not attempt it, especially not all four of the movements.”
Shostakovich had a modern style that displeased the Soviet authorities who controlled Russian art affairs, but “Symphony No. 5” restored him to favor with the government.
“This symphony is approachable and appealing,” Gagliardo said. “It should be a rewarding experience.”
‘Om Sweet Home,’ Episode 4
Meg Weidner, writer of this Internet drama, describes the plot of Episode 4: “As a practicing psychologist, Blair diagnoses Ruth as having a meltdown when Ruth announces she is going to an actual yoga class. Blair also questions Vivian’s true intentions of teaching world religion to kindergartners. As Ruth settles into child pose, she begins to leave her doodle art behind and connect to her inner Matisse.”
The cast of the fourth episode, titled “Inner Matisse,” includes Weidner, Erin Hunter, Roxanna Conroy, Crystal Mashburn and Miriya Bullock, with music by Annie Brunson. Filming locations include Classic on Noble, Classic Too and the Anniston Yoga Center.
To view episodes online, search “Om Sweet Home Web Series” on YouTube.