By Heather Collins
A group of Carmel parents, students and a local music director have teamed to create the Carmel community’s first youth chamber orchestra. It will perform a Winter concert at Coburn Place, a shelter for domestic violence victims, Dec. 8.
The Amadeus Youth Chamber Orchestra is led by music director Weiqun He. He previously taught chamber orchestra and cello performance at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music and has taught at the Jiun-Lee Music Academy in Fishers since 2012. He arranges and composes all the music for the Amadeus Youth Chamber Orchestra.
Carmel Clay Schools only offers orchestra to middle school and high school students. He said the Amadeus Youth Chamber Orchestra was created to give younger students an opportunity to begin playing.
“Many children start learning musical instruments at a very young age, in kindergarten or even earlier,” He said. “Those children don’t usually get the chance to have orchestra or other musical ensemble classes when they are in elementary schools. The National Standards for Arts Education stresses the importance of students performing on instruments with others, as well as alone. It is our purpose to provide such opportunities to young children in Carmel and vicinities.”
Parent Ting Gan is treasurer and helps run the organization with a handful of local parents. The orchestra is comprised of roughly 24 children, ranging in ages from elementary to high school. May Zhang, a senior and first violin section leader at Carmel High School, is the violin sectional assistant instructor for the Amadeus Youth Chamber Orchestra.
Gan’s son, Ian Altenhof, plays cello for the Amadeus Youth Chamber Orchestra.
Altenhof said he encourages all children to take up an instrument and enjoy learning music.
“I can’t wait to play our music for the kids at Coburn Place because it will cheer them up for the holidays, and I hope our music will make them happy,” Altenhof said.
For information, follow the Amadeus Youth Chamber Orchestra on Twitter, @amadeusyco. Positions are still open in the Amadeus Youth Chamber Orchestra. To apply, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
According to music director Weiqun He, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart started to play and write music before he was 8 years old.
“The organizers named the group with Mozart’s first name hoping every child in this group learns to cherish music, to play music with other young musicians as a team, to become a better person through music making and to bring out his or her talent, like Mozart’s,” He said.