Hendersonville Youth Symphony Wraps Up Season of Hard Work

The Hendersonville Symphony Youth Orchestra (HSYO) will perform in concert Sunday, May 7, at 4 p.m. at the Bo Thomas Auditorium at Blue Ridge Community College. Tickets are $7 per person available at the door one hour prior to the concert.

This is the second of two annual concerts the HSYO presents, each a culmination of a semester’s worth of musical studies and practice. For Dorian Neuendorf, Hendersonville Symphony Orchestra’s Operations Manager and Youth Symphony Artistic and Administrative Director, this concert offers the young musicians an opportunity to share months and months of hard work with the community.

“This concert is the culmination of a semester of hard work,” says Neuendorf. “From an educational viewpoint, it is all about technique and styles; constantly building on things. It is a fine balancing act of what to undertake and the end results.”

One of those results is teamwork and fostering a supportive environment. The youth orchestra conducts a concerto competition annually to highlight an outstanding member. This year both Noelani Perry, a senior violinist, and Cole Jenkins, a junior cellist, will be featured in selections supported by the rest of the youth symphony. “Both performers are very good, very prepared. They are the leaders of their sections in the orchestra,” says Neuendorf.

The repertoire for the May 7 concert does not follow a theme, rather it offers the 36 members of the HYSO a chance to challenge themselves, delight the audience, and display a year-long odyssey of learning. On the program are: Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Coriolan Overture, Opus 62,” Saint-Saens’ “Violin Concerto No. 3, Opus 61, First Movement (featuring Noelani Perry), “Cello Concerto No. 3, Opus 51, First Movement” by Georg Goltermann (featuring Cole Jenkins), and Franz Schubert’s “Symphony No. Eight, ‘Unfinished’.”

“The students have really connected with Beethoven’s ‘Coriolan Overture’,” says Neuendorf. “I think the reason is that it is a somewhat intense piece. It moves quickly, but has some tough spots. Yet, it is not overwhelming for the orchestra. Something about it speaks to the musicians.”

Neuendorf feels a bit melancholy at the close of this season of learning and performance for her young musicians.

“This year has passed so quickly. That said, there has been some tremendous growth among the musicians. Many have made huge leaps in their playing, and all have really committed to doing the work.” With just a few graduating seniors, most of the orchestra should return in the autumn. “We should see even more, exciting musical growth next season.”

The HSYO provides advanced string and symphonic orchestra performance opportunities for area school-aged musicians, up to age 21 (this year’s orchestra ranges from a seventh-grade violinist to a college freshman). It is an auditioned orchestra focusing on higher-level playing skills.

“Our goal is to provide symphonic orchestra training for young musicians, to have them play music that they may perform in college or beyond,” Neuendorf said.

Rehearsing only once a week, these young musicians are passionately dedicated to expanding their knowledge of and experience with symphonic music. The work of the HSYO goes beyond the more limited music studies provided at school. 

Classical music lovers from throughout the community are encouraged to attend this concert. 

The Hendersonville Symphony Orchestra, founded in 1971, exists to enrich the Hendersonville and Henderson County communities with live symphonic performances and music education opportunities for youth and adults.

For more information, visit hendersonvillesyphony.org, or call the HSO office at 828-697-5884.

About Shelby Harrell
Shelby Harrell is the news editor of the Biltmore Beacon, editor of The Guide arts and entertainment publication and is a staff writer for Mountaineer Publishing. Originally from Asheville, she has worked in journalism for more than six years and currently lives in Clyde, NC.