Koa is participating in both the Austin Youth Orchestra and Texas Youth Wind Symphony this year, and they both had concerts recently. AYO is an orchestra, which means there are strings, wind, brass, and percussion instruments. TYWS on the other hand has no strings (although there was a single bass for the concert). I love to hear the strings, but I enjoyed listening to the band more. I suppose it’s because the percussion section is more prominent in band, and Koa is a percussionist.
During the high school marching season, the winds, brass, and percussion kids are focused on marching competitions and football games, so the orchestra goes all-string (from what I understand). But once marching season is over, the orchestra is supplemented by the band kids, and I hear that the orchestra kids enjoy a more dynamic arrangement. I thought it was interesting. Before Koa was in band, I just assumed an orchestra had all instruments and didn’t know the distinction between band and orchestra. Both are really awesome!
Here are a couple of animations auto-created by Google Photos. I like to shoot in burst mode, then upload all the images to my Google Photos account and see what kind of animations it makes. The first is of Koa on snare, and the second is when we was on crash cymbals.
For the past couple of months, Koa has been rehearsing (as a percussionist) with the Austin Youth Orchestra every week, and today they had their Spring concert. It was really fun to listen to the music today because most of the time, Koa doesn’t perform with strings. It’s a really nice change of pace!
There were three orchestras playing today, and Koa is listed as a member of the top group, but he was asked to play in the middle group as well. He said he had to do a lot of sight reading today since he didn’t have a lot of time to prepare for the middle band. But to me, he sounded great. I’m so proud of him!
Percussion is a fun discipline in the band/orchestra because they have to learn many different instruments, such as marimba, vibraphone, xylophone, bells, triangle, cymbals, snare drum, and timpani. Then there are a few other specialty instruments like the rain stick. And today, Koa said he had to switch between bass drum, snare, and cymbals in one of the pieces. Some pieces, he’s very active, and some pieces he doesn’t even have a part in. It’s very interesting.
Anyway, it was great to listen to the Austin Youth Orchestra. All the kids work so hard, and it’s impressive to hear the fruits of their labor come to life in a live concert.