Cascade Youth Symphony Kicks-Off Season at Benaroya Hall

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Cascade Youth Symphony Orchestras (CYSO) will begin its performance season this year at Benaroya Hall with Fusion – A Symphonic Gospelfest on Saturday, November 21 at 2:00 pm.

“Our Fusion concert combines the 80 very talented musicians of our top-level Cascade Youth Symphony with 200 mass gospel singers from several prominent local choral groups,” says CYSO Music Director and Principal Conductor Gerry Jon Marsh. “The root of African-American music was community music. Birthed from an enslaved people, this music allowed for a different kind of freedom. The idea of fusing their African world with their new American culture was the only way they could cope. In essence, fusion was survival.”

Fusion begins with the Festive Overture by Shostakovich and continues with pieces by the Dopplers, Ginastera and Glazounov’s Symphony No. 5, featuring guest conductor Stephen Michael Newby, an associate professor of music at Seattle Pacific University and director of its gospel choir. The gospelfest program picks-up after intermission with Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing by Johnson & Johnson and Carr’s In the Sanctuary. Other pieces include Elijah Rock, a traditional spiritual, Let’s Celebrate by Wyatt, We Have A Home by Newby and Total Praise by Smallwood. The gospelfest concert concludes with Newby’s own Wait on Him.
Newby and Marsh have assembled gospel choirs from Seattle Pacific University, University Presbyterian Church, Antioch Bible Church, SureHouse Fellowship, as well as The Sound of the Northwest and Royalty for the powerful gospelfest concert program.

The Cascade Youth Symphony Orchestras are comprised of five, merit-based ensembles, beginning with the Preparatory Strings, the youngest group. From there, young musicians may graduate to progressively higher levels in the Sinfonette, Premier, Junior and Cascade Youth Symphonies. The Principal Conductor and Music Director is Gerry Jon Marsh, a professor of music at Seattle Pacific University.

“The idea of this concert is to blur the lines of musical genre and find the grand commonalities between gospel and symphonic music,” Newby says. “Fusion will have succeeded if it provokes new and continuing discussion and understanding of African-American sacred music traditions and their place in our collective cultural history.”

Tickets are $24 with group discounts available and may be purchased online at Benaroya Hall or at the hall’s ticket office.

The Cascade Youth Symphony Orchestras, presented by Kennelly Keys Music, are comprised of five merit-based youth symphony ensembles. With student players from eight to 21 years old from throughout north and east King and south Snohomish counties, CYSO has been working cooperatively with regional schools for more than 33 years to provide after-school hours instrumental music instruction and performance opportunities to talented young musicians. Marsh, also a music professor at Seattle Pacific University, recently celebrated his 25th anniversary at the music helm of CYSO.

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