Compare it to the difference between playing football in a high school stadium and LSU’s Tiger Stadium.
That will be the Louisiana Youth Orchestras program’s experience when it opens its 2015-16 season Monday in the Baton Rouge River Center Theatre for the Performing Arts.
“They are so giddy,” said David Torns, the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra’s associate conductor and director of the program. “They’ll be playing on the same stage that’s home to the symphony, and they’ll be playing under the band shell and everything. They’re so excited.”
The Louisiana Youth Orchestras are an educational component of the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra. Torns has always wanted to stage the program’s concerts on its parent organization’s stage.
“But we had to make sure we could afford it,” he said. “It’s expensive for a youth orchestra to perform in the River Center Theatre.”
The youth orchestra program has always been performed on weekend afternoons, was changed to fit the theater’s schedule.
“There were no weekends available for us this year, so we’ll start our season out on a Monday night, and our second and third concerts will be performed on Thursdays,” Torns said. “We hope to return to weekend concerts next year.”
The Louisiana Youth Orchestras program is made up of the Louisiana Junior String Ensemble, the Louisiana Junior Youth Orchestra, the Louisiana Youth Orchestra Percussion Ensemble and its top group, the Louisiana Youth Orchestra. All of these groups will be in the concert lineup.
Torns will conduct the LYO, which will feature violinist and orchestra member Erina Buchholt soloing in the first movement of Felix Mendelssohn’s violin concerto. Buchholt is the winner of the orchestra’s annual concerto competition.
“We’ll also be playing the ‘Olympic Fanfare and Theme’ by John Williams and Morton Gould’s ‘American Salute,’ ” Torns said.
“This is going to be a great experience for our students.”