Making Music: Youth Symphony Gives Student Musicians Keys to Success
Auditions for the Dearborn Youth Symphony will be held Monday, March 4.
Musical protégées need not apply to the Dearborn Youth Symphony, Tim Cibor, artistic director and symphony orchestra conductor, said.
An alumnus of the group, as well as band director and assistant orchestra director at Birmingham Seaholm High School, Cibor said he looks for well-rounded students dedicated to music and their instruments.
“We just want people who love music,” Cibor, a Dearborn native now living in Franklin, said. “That’s the most important thing.”
Auditions for the concert orchestra, flute choir and string orchestra will be held March 4 for the DYS May 5 concert, and auditions for the 2013-2014 season for all five groups within the DYS take place May 21, 22 and 23 at the Ford Community and Performing Arts Center in Dearborn.
For more information, go to www.dearbornyouthsymphony.org.
DYS, founded in 1975, offers a string orchestra, two flute choirs and two full orchestras to students from elementary to high school age (with a few college students) drawn from more than 27 local communities.
The group, which rehearses at The Center on Monday evenings from Sept. through May, offers performance and scholarship opportunities while complementing school ensembles and private instruction.
Cibor said he tells fellow teachers that DYS is a supplemental experience and a win-win situation.
“I always tell teachers that ... I get a great musician from you, and then I try and return a more balanced musician, because they’re playing this great repertoire,” Cibor said. “It’s not trying to take over school music programs—that’s what I do during the day. It’s trying to be an additional experience for students.”
String orchestra conductor Olivia Zang, a DYS alumnus and a string instructor with Birmingham Public Schools, said young musicians learn respect, dedication, responsibility and the positive benefits of establishing a routine. She said student musicians learn how much work they need to do to achieve a goal.
“It’s something that sticks with you, something you remember,” Zang, a Wyandotte native now living in Beverly Hills, Mich. said. “There are so many people that tell me they have fond memories of being a musician.”
She added that playing classical music provides people with a stronger appreciation for it than can be gained by merely listening to it.
“Classical music gets a bad rap for being boring,” Zang said. “But… once you play it, you feel it, and once you have been a musician, you have that understanding, that appreciation for what goes into the playing, and you listen to it, you see it in a whole new light.”
Dearborn violinist Sarah Haidar, 11, who plays with the DYS string orchestra, said music is a big part of her life because she plays often, even when sad or bored, and playing relaxes her and makes her happy.
Haidar, a sixth grader at Lowrey Middle School, said music opens up her mind and lets her listen to things she never noticed before.
Dearborn violinist Lauren Fakhreldine, 10, a sixth grader at Unis Middle School, said playing her violin relaxes her as well.
“When I’m really stressed out I just pull out my violin,” Fakhreldine said. “It just helps me calm myself, and it’s pretty much all I focus on when I’m playing.”
She said she tells relatives that playing in the DYS string orchestra requires hard work and dedication, but is a lot of fun.
“Just set your heart to it (and) just put your mind to it and you’ll achieve really high,” Fakhreldine said.
Cibor said he believes classical music can influence mood and can increase a person’s capacity to be a better learner.
“I’m not a believer that Mozart makes you smarter,” Cibor said. “I believe Mozart makes you calmer, it makes you think more rationally, (and) it gives you the capacity to be smarter. It’s giving the kids the tools to be successful.”
String orchestra violinist Jillian Cormier, 10, said music helps her express her inner self and her feelings. A fifth grader at Riley Upper Elementary School in Livonia, she said she feels happy and relaxed when playing the violin.
She said playing with the DYS is a wonderful experience.
“You get a lot out of it,” Cormier said. “The concerts are super fun, you make a ton of new friends… it’s a really good experience.”
Teen musicians in the DYS symphony orchestra find that playing with the group helps them express themselves, explore career possibilities and meet new friends.
Home-schooled Chelsea violinist Julia Bechtel, 16, finds that music helps her express a wide range of emotions and her religious beliefs. She and her siblings play their instruments at their church’s worship services, and she would like to make a career out of teaching music.
For Grosse Ile harpist Lauren Georges, 19, a sophomore business major at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, DYS was her first experience playing with other instruments in a symphony setting when she joined three years ago while a senior at Grosse Ile High School.
She often plays the romantic-sounding but challenging harp at weddings.
Dearborn trombonist Henry Dawson, 16, a Dearborn High School junior, said playing with groups like his high school’s marching band helped him meet upperclassmen when he joined as a freshman. He also plays with the DHS jazz and symphony bands. DYS helps him form many new friendships as well.
He said playing an instrument is an outlet for his emotions.
“When I’m mad I can just play really loud and get my aggression out,” Dawson said.
Dearborn resident John Orischak, 16, a junior at Divine Child High School who plays the clarinet, saxophone and accordion, and serves as drum major for DC’s marching band, also finds that music is a good outlet for his emotions as well as serving as a bridge with people from around the world.
“It’s definitely something that any other subject in school can’t do,” Orischak said. “I mean, it expresses emotion, (and) anybody can listen to it, whether they’re from Europe or American or anywhere. It’s a universal language.”
While Cibor said he feels tremendous pride when students become successful adult musicians, he said he loves it when a student not pursuing music as a career has an effective experience performing music that influences their life beyond high school.
“I think that’s really important for the future of our profession, for the future of music, that these kids have a powerful experience,” Cibor said. “So powerful that ... later on ... they still play in various community groups and they still support the arts.”