Editor's note: This post was written by Daniel Berkowitz, the LA Phil's YOLA Manager.
During a break in the action last week, nearly 30 musicians from the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela visited our two YOLA sites: YOLA at HOLA, our partnership with Heart of Los Angeles, and YOLA at EXPO, our partnership with Harmony Project and EXPO Center. EXPO, HOLA and SBSOV are preparing for a side-by-side concert on JAN 30 - it's right around the corner!
The Bolivars sent a cohort of winds, brass and percussion to YOLA at HOLA to teach and perform alongside the YOLA at HOLA students for the community in Rampart. Every corner of the building was filled with music (including offices and storage closets). In one of the larger rooms, Ranieri Chacón led a sectional on the finale of Tchaikovsky 5th, focusing on individual musicality within the group.
Going one-by-one, he stopped after hearing 5th grader Emeliy and said, “Wow, at some moments I could hear the music from your soul." At that point, he talked to the sectional about where the music had to come from, and what it meant as a musician (helping them understand it's never about notes). He then asked Emeliy to play it again, and not worry about notes, just to find the music in her soul. She was pretty shy, and blushed, but the second time she played it was even more beautiful – with no apprehension. After she played it again, the entire room applauded, including Ranieri.
The musicians then moved to the LaFayette Park Recreation Center to give a performances for the YOLA families. The Bolivars received a standing ovation from the group before even playing a note. The groups performed works of Mahler (of course), Brahms, Dvorak, Rossini, and Tchaikovsky.
Just a few miles south at the YOLA at EXPO, members of the SBSOV string section led classes and a side-by-side rehearsal. They worked on the same repertoire and delved into what an interactive orchestra rehearsal can look like. Each Bolivar offered insights on new ways to connect to the music.
Get ready for a passionate and once-in-a-lifetime concert on January 30th! The concert takes place at Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Downtown LA and is free - you can learn more about it and reserve tickets here.