Kicking Off a New Season

On Saturday, September 18th, the hallways of Takoma Elementary School were once again echoing with the sweet sound of live music on every floor. All nine DCYOP ensembles, ranging from Debut Orchestra and Premiere Winds to the Youth Philharmonic and Orchestra, were back in person and ready to kick off the new season.

“Just having a chance for everyone to get back in the room and play together as a community is great,” said Ruben McFarlane, who is moving into a new role as the conductor of Sinfonia  this season. “Kids are just really excited to be back and that’s what matters.”

After the success of our outdoor in-person rehearsals and spring concert, the DCYOP staff spent all summer carefully monitoring the rapidly evolving COVID situation in the DC area and developing multiple plans and strategies to ensure that we are following best practices and guidance being issued at the federal and local levels. In addition to following all DCPS mandated protocols, DCYOP requires mandatory weekly health screens, usage of additional protective PPE for wind and brass instruments, and assigned, socially-distanced seating to facilitate contact tracing, if needed.

Fernando Campos, father of Fernando, a returning violinist in Debut Orchestra, and Luca, a brand-new violin student in our beginner programs, is happy to see how the program has made the transition from virtual back to in-person, despite all the challenges. “With all the rules, it makes things less stressful knowing that things are safe.”

After such a long time apart, everyone is excited to get to work preparing for the upcoming season. Maria Machado, an oboist in Repertory Orchestra, is looking forward to “going to concerts, seeing friends, and playing together in person.” In addition to the joys of returning to our regular Saturday rehearsals and sectionals, DCYOP students can look forward to a number of exciting events this year, including the premiere of a new work by Grammy winning composer and producer, Kerwin Young, and a return visit from Maestro Gianandrea Noseda, Music Director of the National Symphony Orchestra.