Young Musicians Persevere

How does a collaborative group of musicians persevere when their ability to be together for collaboration is challenged? And how do educators keep student musicians engaged and learning when working in person is difficult or impossible? These are the challenges faced by the directors of the Dayton Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, Youth Strings and Junior Strings in 2020 and 2021. 

When the pandemic hit in March 2020, the young musicians of the Dayton Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, Youth Strings and Junior Strings were forced to stop their rehearsals and concerts. This meant that the directors needed to find alternate ways that they could connect, rehearse and perform. Through the last 18 months, knowing how important music is, these directors have utilized a variety of strategies to continue making music together.  

Patrick Reynolds, the director of the Dayton Philharmonic Youth Orchestra says, “if you would like to understand the power of arts, the power of music, please know that our music sustained us through some very difficult times.” He told his musicians, “music is our sanctuary from the problems of the world outside.  Let rehearsals and our time together always be our sanctuary.” To achieve that end, the group worked to find a venue where they could safely rehearse, finally finding welcome in the gym of CHESS Christian School in Springboro. The DPYO had complications and delays due to Covid cases and quarantines, but were able to create a concert video early last season, and then to have their first live performance in the Schuster in May 2021.

The Dayton Philharmonic Youth Strings, led by Dr. Betsey Hofeldt, faced challenges, but continued to triumph and make music together.  She worked with half of her group at a time, meeting at Hillel Academy, and performed the first concert of the season on Facebook Live. Last spring, they performed to a limited audience at St. Paul’s, and just this November the group had an “outstanding” fall concert at the Seventh Day Adventist Church.  Dr. Hofeldt says,“Distance is not good when you’re trying to play together and we need to shed the shells we’ve put up for Covid, still maintaining health safety.” “I hope we don’t take live rehearsals and performances for granted ever again.”

The unique alchemy of a collaborative musical group can be magical to a young person, and the directors, student musicians, and parents who provided support should be applauded for their heroic efforts to keep collaborative music alive in the face of a global pandemic. With hard work and creative adaptation, they have grown as musicians and shared the joy of their accomplishments with their audiences. If you wish to be a part of their live audience, please consider attending one of these upcoming concerts:

  • Dayton Philharmonic Youth Orchestra 
    • Winter Concert December 5th at 3:00 in the Schuster Center
    • Family Concert March 20th at 3:00 in the Schuster Center
    • Family Concert May 15th at 3:00 in the Schuster Center 
  • Dayton Philharmonic Youth Strings
    • Spring Concert March 27th 3:00 Location TBA
  • Dayton Philharmonic Junior String
    • Spring Concert March 13th 5:00 PNC Arts Annex