Spring Music Extravaganza with YPO/DRYO
Classical music and bluegrass – Anna Spain loves to play both. “I was in kindergarten when I asked for a violin,” she recalls. “I have no idea why I thought I should play that instrument, but I just knew that’s what I wanted.”
Obviously, she made a good choice, since the 6th grade student at Charlotte Wood School in Danville has been performing with Civic Arts Education orchestras since 2nd grade. She will perform A.Vivaldis’s “Double concerto for two violins solo in A-minor” at the Young Performers Orchestra (YPO) and Diablo Regional Youth Orchestra (DRYO) concert on May 29. Her duet partner is Claire Welker.
“I really like the Vivaldi duet,” Anna adds. “It’s cool, but I also enjoy the “Legend of Deadman’s Cove,” a fun piece that we’ll also be performing.” Composed by Peter Martin, the second piece was inspired by the score for “Pirates of the Caribbean.”
Although initially trained in classical music, Anna has been around music most of her life. Her father Wes, a native of North Carolina, grew up hearing lots of bluegrass music and has passed that on to his entire family. “Dad plays guitar, and we go to all these bluegrass festivals and campouts,” explains Anna. “I picked up the banjo and mandolin so I could play along. It wasn’t too hard going to mandolin since it’s tuned the same as a violin.”
What has been a bit more challenging for Anna is learning to play by ear rather than from notes on a page of sheet music. “I’m used to reading an orchestra score but in bluegrass, you need to listen to what’s being played and then join in,” she explains. “I’m trying to get better at that.”
Music is also a family affair for the Spains. In addition to her father and herself, Anna’s 3rd grade brother Will plays banjo and her mother Cynthia is learning the bass. “My mom was a classical flutist as a teenager but she’s also taken up bluegrass. We sort of have our own bluegrass band,” Anna says.
While the May 29 concert does not include any bluegrass, there will be lots of exciting music to hear. Beginning at 7 pm at the Shadelands Auditorium, the concert not only includes Anna’s duet, but also works by A. Corelli, W.A. Mozart, and J. Haydn as well as some contemporary composers. “We will be doing the entire “Symphony No. 75 in D-major by F.J. Haydn as well,” says conductor and musical director Rem Djemilev.
In addition to hearing the talented members of YPO and DRYO, the public will be introduced to CAE’s new Cello Ensemble under the direction of Stephen Evans. “They will present a wonderful selection of music by G.F.Handel, J.S.Bach and other composers. This is going to be an unforgettable concert and a true Spring Music Extravaganza,” enthuses Rem. For more information on the May 29 concert, visit www.arts-ed.org or call 925-943-5846.