This summer, the San Luis Obispo Youth Symphony is going on the road.
About 35 youth symphony members are traveling to Los Angeles and Chicago, accompanied by about 10 adults, including coaches, parents and interns from Cal Poly and San Luis Obispo High School.
“We’ve got a great, great group of kids,” said Nancy Nagano, who conducts the youth symphony’s concert orchestra. “We will put this area on the map, definitely.”
The youth symphony’s journey began Friday with a performance at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles.
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They joined the Fresno Opera & Orchestra Summer Academy for a free concert featuring works by George Gershwin, Aram Khachaturian, Richard Strauss and others.
From Los Angeles, the youth symphony flies to Chicago, where the musicians will attend a Chicago Symphony Orchestra performance, participate in a workshop with Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra Music Director Margery Deutsch and check out a rehearsal for the Grant Park Music Festival. They’ll also do a little sight-seeing.
The group returns home on Wednesday.
According to Nagano, the youth symphony tours every three or four years, depending on performing schedules. Members traveled to Europe in 2003 and British Columbia in 2007.
“It’s always a great experience whether you go far or not,” she said.
Nagano said traveling provides Central Coast kids plenty of opportunities to bond with each other — and with youngsters from across the globe.
“When you take them on these tours, they’re with each other 24-7. They really get to know each other,” she said. “This is really important for us, (so) we make it a point to take the ensemble on tour.”
According to Nagano, each person paid about $1,700 for the trip, with some of those costs covered by community donations.
“All our parents and our kids are so supportive,” she said. “They really realize what a great opportunity this is."
Founded in 1968 by Morro Bay educator Wachtang “Botso” Korisheli, the San Luis Obispo Youth Symphony is part of the San Luis Obispo Symphony’s Music Education program, which serves more than 16,000 children and adults each year.
For more information about the youth symphony, call 543-3533 or visit www.slosymphony.com.