Join SEMYO in the 40 for 40 campaign in honor of SEMYO’s 40th anniversary. The goal is for our organization and students to perform 40 times during our 2019-2020 season and engage with our community in a way that is positive and inspiring.

To achieve a 40 for 40 performance, one or more SEMYO students must perform in public, take a photo or record video, and a student or SEMYO staff member must write a short blog post with a reflection of that performance.

Follow our progress below as we strive for 40!

Performance # 1: SEMYO Woodwind Quintet at City Hall

On Wednesday, October 9, the SEMYO Woodwind Quintet was invitd to perform at the City Hall where Mayor Kim Norton declared it “SEMYO Week” for SEMYO’s 40th anniversary. We performed two pieces: Waltz No. 2 (Shostakovich) & Mov. 1 of “Early Hungarian Dances” (Ferenc). Both had their challenges: Waltz No. 2 has a lot of repetition making it hard to stay consistent in tempo while Early Hungarian Dances was difficult to keep in tune due to the frequent octave jumps. Furthermore, the City Hall’s marble walls made for a very echoey sound. However, all our late night Tuesday practices paid off and we performed at our best on that day (the snacks waiting for us after rehearsal certainly made for a very motivated practice). I can proudly say we accurately displayed SEMYO’s abilities through our performance and I hope the audience felt the same.

Alexandra B. (Flute – SEMYO Concert Orchestra)

Performance # 2: It’s Instrumental Gala

Several ensembles performed at SEMYO’s It’s Instrumental gala at Somerby Golf Club including the DOT Woodwind Quintet, a combined faculty and student ensemble, and two violinists from the Concert Orchestra described here:

This year, SEMYO held its fourth annual “It’s Instrumental!” Gala on October 11, 2019, where Evan Schuman and I (Ethan Warrington) were invited to perform a duet. It was a great honor to be featured at this lovely evening. Thanks to Susan Henke, who accompanied and rehearsed with us, we were able to perform “Fandango” by Michael McLean with great success. The varying tempos and the call-and-response style of the piece proved to be engaging challenges that the three of us had to overcome. Although I was quite nervous to perform at such a formal event, the high energy of the music made it a much more enjoyable experience. While I was performing, I felt great pride to belong to such an amazing organization like SEMYO, which provides wonderful opportunities for young musicians such as myself.

Ethan W. (Violin – SEMYO Concert Orchestra)

Performance # 3: SEMYO Students Perform at Riverside Central Elementary School

On October 16, SEMYO students Jerry, Fernando, and Zachary performed for 5th graders at Riverside school with the goal of interesting students in SEMYO’s Riverside program. The performance, along with a presentation, took place in the school cafeteria for about a dozen students. Jerry and Fernando played excerpts on violin including pop music and a selection from a Bach violin prelude. The trio also played together on an arrangement of the song Don’t Stop Believing. The Riverside students seemed very engaged in the performance and several of them signed up for the class. It was a nice opportunity for the elementary students at Riverside to the see and the hear the instruments close-up and be inspired by other young musicians.

Corey H. (SEMYO Executive & Program Director)

Performance # 4-6: DOT Quintet on Tour!

On November 15, SEMYO’s DOT Woodwind Quintet went on an outreach tour to three middle schools in the Rochester area and performed three pieces: an arrangement of Dmitri Shostakovich’s Suite for Jazz Orchestra No. 2, three of Denes Agay’s Five Easy Dances, and Valerie Coleman’s Umoja. Each of the pieces had their respective challenges, though I believe the main challenge of the tour was  the short time to warm-up at each school and adapting to the change in space at each place. Despite these challenges, the tour was very successful and it was great to spend time with my fellow members of DOT!

Barbara C. (Horn – Philharmonic Orchestra)

Performance # 7: SEMYO Woodwind Quintet Performs

On the 15th of November, the SEMYO Woodwind Quintet again took to the chairs and stands and performed a pre-show program for the Rochester Symphony’s Children’s Concert. We performed the first movement of Malcom Arnold’s Three Sea Shanties and a second piece entitled Five Easy Dances. The dances are a simple, yet cheerful piece that provided a nice groove for the evening. The Shanties however were exactly as the definition of their name implied: coarse and jaunty. I enjoyed our performance and hope that those who heard us enjoyed it as well.

Ethan E. (Horn – Concert Orchestra)

Performance # 8: Transformations: SEMYO Fall Concert

Write-up Coming Soon!

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