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Accessibility key for performing music through the Roaring Fork Youth Orchestra

Cassandra Ballard
Special to The Aspen Times
Elevan-year-old Kate Sanders practices with other young members of the Roaring Fork Youth Orchestra in Carbondale to prepare for this weekend's fall orchestra concert taking place on Sunday.
Courtesy photo

Roaring Fork Youth Orchestra is putting on a free concert Sunday in Carbondale with an assortment of diverse music performed by students throughout the valley.

“We definitely encouraged young musicians to come to the concert,” the orchestra’s executive director and cello teaching artist Sarah Graf said.

The fall concert brings together nearly 60 young musicians ages 6 to 18 from throughout the Roaring Fork Valley to perform a range of classical and traditional music.



“It’s really a great chance for families and little kids to come here to hear their friends or other kids of all ages playing instruments because it can be really inspiring,” she said. “A lot of kids have ended up joining the orchestra that way.”

That is, once they have worked on their skill and shown the dedication to be an active musician in the ensemble.




“Learning to play an instrument requires dedication and effort, and the rewards are absolutely worth it,” said Ross Kribbs, one of the three co-music directors.

The fall concert will feature styles from classical and traditional, including pieces by Vivaldi, tunes with traditional Irish fiddles, and even the Youth Orchestra’s Sidewalk Strings playing some of the traditional Mexican dances they performed with the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet Folklórico dancers for Día de los Muertos in Carbondale last week.

“The Preparatory String Orchestra and our group called Musica, which are even more beginner level students, will be playing together in the first part of the concert,” Graf said.

They will perform Vivaldi’s Autumn from Four Seasons and the Irish Washerwoman. They will also play the traditional and more classical repertoire including Dukas’ The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, which was featured in Disney’s Fantasia.

The program also includes the lush and languid melody that winds its way through The Old Boatman, by African American composer Florence Beatrice Price, according to a new release.

The grand finale will feature all of the ensemble performing an energetic piece by Gustav Holst’s Planet Suite Jupiter.

The program advocates accessibility for young musicians, providing students with scholarships for lessons and tuition, along with access to a growing musical instrument library. Rehearsals with the program are held after school in Aspen, Carbondale, and New Castle.

This is the first time that many students have the opportunity to play in an orchestra, Graf said.

“Creating music together adds the elements of teamwork, communication, and camaraderie,” Kribbs added. “Students learn that they’ve earned a gift that they can give to others — anytime, anywhere, and forever.”

The next concert after this weekend will be during First Friday.

For more information, visit RFYO.org.

Nine-year-old Abelito E. practices with other young members of the Roaring Fork Youth Orchestra in Carbondale to prepare for this weekend’s fall orchestra concert taking place on Sunday.
Courtesy photo
If you go…

What: Roaring Fork Youth Orchestra fall concert
When: 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 13
Where: Carbondale’s Third Street Center Community Hall, 520 S. 3rd St.
How much: free and family friendly
More info: rfyo.org