Centenary Youth Orchestra returns for outdoor concert April 11

SHREVEPORT, LA — The Centenary Youth Orchestra (CYO) will present its spring concert, “A New World,” live with a limited audience on Sunday, April 11, at 6:00 p.m. at Hargrove Memorial Amphitheater. Masks and social distancing are required for all audience members. The concert will also be live-streamed at centenary.edu/cyo.

“The orchestra and I are ecstatic to perform live again, with what I consider a wonderfully eclectic program and a celebration,” said CYO conductor Dan Santelices. “We will feature the winners of our annual Concerto Competition, as well as honoring some requests of pieces suggested by CYO members. We will also be playing the world premiere of a composition written by one of Centenary’s own and performing one of the most recognizable and meaningful symphonic works.

The 2021 Concerto Competition winning soloists are:

Greer Kennedy, a freshman at Caddo Magnet High School, who will perform the first movement of the Viola Concerto in C Minor by Johann Christian Bach-Henri Casadesus. She is pupil of the Centenary Suzuki School studying under Charles Regauer.

Centenary senior Veronica Seal-Bravo will play W.A. Mozart’s Andante for Flute and Orchestra, K. 315. Seal-Bravo studies under Sally Horak at Centenary’s Hurley School of Music and is pursuing a bachelor of arts degree in general music.

Caddo Magnet High School sophomore Cal Alexander will perform the third movement-finale of Pyotr Tschaikovsky’s Violin Concerto in D Major. He is also a Centenary Suzuki School student, studying with both Suzuki School director Laura Crawford and Jan Mark Sloman of the Cleveland Institute of Music. Alexander made his CYO debut by performing the entire Mendelssohn Violin Concerto in the spring of 2019 and was a soloist in October 2020 with the Shreveport Symphony Orchestra under the baton of maestro Michael Butterman.

“The level of musicianship and technique demonstrated by our student soloists is truly outstanding,” said Santelices. “Their love for and commitment to music is awe-inspiring.”

The concert begins with a few musical selections requested by CYO members. The 2013 version of Kishi Bashi’s version of “This Must Be the Place (Naïve Melody)” released by The Talking Heads in 1982 will open the program. This piece was suggested by CYO violinist Adriana Martin, an eighth grader at Southfield School. Johnum Palado, guest conductor and CYO alum who is currently attending the Oberlin College and Conservatory, is back in Shreveport completing virtual learning for his college. An outstanding violinist and composer himself, Palado arranged the vocal parts of the song for the woodwind section.

Graduating Centenary senior viola player Pius Lau introduced Santelices to the widely varied background music to one of his favorite video game puzzle series, Professor Layton.

“Even though I have performed entire orchestral video game concerts, for example for Legend of Zelda, I was not familiar with this one,” said Santelices. “I was delighted to hear how sophisticated the scoring is: cinematic, dramatic, intimate, classic French café and virtuosic jazz improvisation. I love that our players feel comfortable to share with me their musical passions outside of the norm of classical repertoire. It helps me to continue to cultivate my own musical palate.”

Brennen Templeton, another graduating 2021 Centenary senior and a charter member of the CYO as principal horn, will showcase another one of his talents: that of composer. Templeton originally came to the College to study horn with Centenary Wind Ensemble conductor and Hurley School of Music instructor Thomas Hundemer. He has also had the opportunity to work with and study under Dr. James Eakin, the Hurley School’s composition and theory professor and a foremost producer of film music and performed repertoire. This experience ultimately has led Templeton to pursue a master’s degree in music composition. Templeton’s world-premiere composition for string orchestra, titled “Comprehension,” was originally conceived for piano. Templeton writes that the piece and title are, “an expression of my search to understand my perspective on music, a journey that I still find myself on.”

Two movements from Antonin Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9, op. 95, subtitled “From the New World,” will conclude the program. Dvorak composed and premiered the work in 1893 soon after moving from his native Czechoslovakia to America to become the director of the National Conservatory of Music of America in New York City. The 2nd movement Largo opening theme, initially introduced on the plaintive-sounding English Horn, evokes Dvorak’s homesickness. Johnum Palado will conduct this section. The finale 4th movement features the brass section and is sharply contrasting in its overtly dramatic introduction.

“There were so many reasons for me to choose to have the orchestra play this particular standard work,” said Santelices. “Perhaps the most obvious one, referring to the title, is the amazing development and distribution of Covid-19 vaccines which have allowed the College and our world to return to a glimpse of normalcy, such as this limited-attendance live performance. I consider the concert to be a celebration of our shared humanity and continue to be optimistic and grateful for it.”


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