Saturday, February 24, 2018

LeTourneau youth orchestra seeks musicians

From Staff Reports
Jan. 30, 2018 at 5 p.m.

LeTourneau University continues to recruit musicians for its new regional youth orchestra.

Recruiting continues through Feb. 12 for musicians in ninth through 12th grades, according to LETU Director of Fine Arts Jim Taylor, who said gifted younger musicians in seventh or eighth grade also might be considered.

"We initially are seeking area strings players who play violin, viola, cello and double bass," Taylor said. "We are starting with just strings, but if we have enough interest later, we will add brass.

"LeTourneau University's new youth orchestra will be led by Shannon Roberts, who has a degree in music education from the University of North Texas and has significant experience as a teacher and conductor," Taylor said. "She also plays violin in the Longview Symphony and teaches private lessons at LETU."

Taylor said the Longview Symphony disbanded its Longview Symphony Youth Orchestra a few years ago, but that with the addition of a fine arts program at LeTourneau, the university is in a good position to launch this new youth orchestra to serve the community and give local musicians more playing and ensemble experience.

Dr. Larry Frazier, LeTourneau's dean of the College of Education, Arts and Sciences, said the LETU Youth Orchestra provides a value for local parents and students in Longview.

"By increasing our commitment to the fine arts, we are working to expand opportunities and also increase the value of the LETU experience," Frazier said.

The new youth orchestra rehearses from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. each Tuesday in Speer Chapel on the university's main campus, 2100 S. Mobberly Ave. in Longview.

Concerts are planned in the university's Belcher Center, Speer Chapel and elsewhere in the community.

A participation fee of $75 per semester, per musician, is required. All students will have to audition.

In the fall semester, plans are for the youth orchestra to be offered as a dual-credit course providing college credit for high school students.

LeTourneau students can participate for free this semester, but then later can take youth orchestra as a one-hour course for college credit, once the youth orchestra gets in the university's course catalogue for Fall 2018.

"This new youth orchestra expands LETU's footprint as we seek to become known for our ensembles and the arts," Taylor said. "We look forward to attracting bright, high-achieving students to our campus as well as providing our classically trained LETU students with a creative outlet, enriching the quality of their student life. We know that students who play instruments often outscore others on tests."

Taylor said he doesn't seek to compete with students being involved in their high school band programs, but that the LETU Youth Orchestra is designed to provide a supplemental opportunity for local young musicians and home-schoolers to play their instruments and perform.

For information, all (903) 233-3379.



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