Advanced young musicians throughout the Capital Region will now come to Schenectady for rehearsal with the Empire State Youth Orchestras.
The orchestras used to rehearse at the Albany Academies, but that school could no longer offer rehearsal rooms, interim Executive Director Sara Torrey said.
“They needed the space,” she said.
Luckily, an ESYO board member is the head of Brown School. Her trustees enthusiastically agreed to donate space to the orchestras.
It’s a big commitment. Empire State needs space for 185 to 200 children to rehearse every week during the school year.
The most advanced students rehearse for three hours every Tuesday. Students in the repertory orchestra rehearse for 21⁄2 hours.
“It’s pretty intense,” Torrey said.
The program also includes nine ensembles for less-advanced students, who rehearse in Albany, Niskayuna and Troy.
“We don’t own our own building, so we’re kind of spread all over the Capital District,” Torrey said.
Brown isn’t getting much in return for the space — two students are in the ensembles, but no Brown student is currently in one of the competitive orchestras. Nevertheless, Brown isn’t charging Empire State for the space.
“They’ve been wonderful,” Torrey said.
The orchestras will do more than simply rehearse in Schenectady. The orchestra’s first concert will be a free event at Proctors. On Oct. 13, it will first play for music students from throughout the region. Music teachers sign up their classes for the Young People’s concert “as a means of really introducing them to classical music, but seeing it played by people just a little bit older than themselves,” Torrey said. “It’s very inspiring.”
At 1 p.m. that afternoon, the orchestra will offer a free concert for senior citizens.
The orchestra began rehearsing Tuesday. Their work will culminate in a performance June 1 at Carnegie Hall in New York City.