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Cellist Eliza Balmuth and violinist Jake Balmuth rehearse at Orchestra Hall. Photo by Vishal Malhotra.

As Dunleavy had promised, the 50th anniversary concert was brimming with all of the energy and buzz of a rock show. Adkins, Dunleavy, Giordano, Gutierrez, and more than 1,000 students, parents, and well-wishers were dressed in their best attire. Nearly every seat in Bass Hall was filled.

Emceed by Nancy Brunson, a DJ at WRR Classical 101.1-FM, the evening culminated with two rousing movements from Rimsky Korsakov’s Scheherazade. The flurried passages of strings and woodwinds, set against the masculine closing brass lines of the programmatic work, were the perfect dessert. Nearly every display of virtuosity came off masterfully.

As the concluding chord of the night died away, the concertgoers rose to their feet, turning away from the orchestra and toward Giordano and wife Mary Alice Giordano in the rear balcony.

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“It was a very emotional moment for myself and my wife,” Giordano said later. “We had a hard time holding back tears. The best way I can describe the feeling is that it was like seeing your child grow from being little into a grown up.”

If the thought of teenagers performing alongside professionals in one of the country’s most prestigious concert halls comes as a surprise, that’s because it is. But there’s little that separates the two groups’ training.

“There’s no difference between how I work with the youth orchestra and how I rehearse professional orchestras, musically speaking,” Gutierrez said. “No matter where [the students] go, this experience will stay with them. I have found this is a great place to plant the seeds for the future.”

Photo by Vishal Malhotra.
Photo by Vishal Malhotra.
Photo by Vishal Malhotra.
Photo by Vishal Malhotra.

4 COMMENTS

  1. I thought it’d be nice if past musicians and parents would share their favorite stories/reminiscences in the comment section.

    • Sure, Eddie!
      I am a YO alum, 1983-1987. Fort Worth Youth Orchestra was absolutely transformative for me– I had opportunities to play the music I loved with a group of like-minded and super talented kids.
      Best of all, though, was the UK tour in 1987. It was delayed a year because of terrorism worries, so we had two years of anticipation. It was well worth the fundraising, the practicing, and all the rest of the preparation– close to 30 years later (!), I still tell stories from that trip.

    • Sure, Eddie!
      I am a YO alum, 1983-1987. Fort Worth Youth Orchestra was absolutely transformative for me– I had opportunities to play the music I loved with a group of like-minded and super talented kids.
      Best of all, though, was the UK tour in 1987. It was delayed a year because of terrorism worries, so we had two years of anticipation. It was well worth the fundraising, the practicing, and all the rest of the preparation– close to 30 years later, I still tell stories from that trip.

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