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Pros, students to perform side by side in concert

Aspiring young string instrumentalists will have a chance to see what being a professional musician is like at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Gwinnett Performing Arts Center in Duluth. Members of the Gwinnett County Public Schools Honor Orchestras will perform side by side with the Gwinnett Philharmonic professional musicians in what has become an annual musical event in the county.

Members of two youth orchestras will be taking their seats alongside their adult counterparts for a concert filled with melodic and crowd-pleasing music. The younger of the two groups is the Kendall Youth Orchestra, which studies under the direction of conductors Scott Hammond and Bernadette Scruggs. These young artists are only in the sixth through the ninth grades, but they will be confidently performing the "Galop" from Offenbach's "Orpheus in the Underworld" (better known to most as the famous "Can-Can") side by side with the pros. They will also perform the second movement of Beethoven's "7th Symphony," the "Allegretto."

The Gwinnett County Youth Symphony (GCYS) is open to students in the sixth through the 12th grades. The string section of this orchestra will be performing, again side by side with the pros, the first movement of Bach's "Brandenburg Concerto No. 3," "Scottish Mist" by Bonnie Rideout and Bob Phillips, and Samuel Barber's "Adagio for Strings." The GCYS trains under the direction of Cathie Hudnall and Dr. Peter Lemond.

Gwinnett is very fortunate to be one of the only county school systems in the state of Georgia that has funding provided for honors orchestras. The Kendall Youth Orchestra and the Gwinnett County Youth Symphony both perform music from the standard professional literature and enjoy experiences that give the students performance opportunities far beyond what is offered in other school systems.

As many of the professional musicians of the Gwinnett Philharmonic also teach, they already have a special affinity for students, making this concert one of their favorites of the season as well.

Gwinnett Philharmonic spokesperson Kelly Haggard Olson further explains, "The entire concert features the strings without most of the brass and woodwinds, except in supporting roles. So the pieces have really been chosen to show off the skills and exceptional abilities of the youth orchestras' string players. You can imagine, then, that the music will definitely swirl and soar. It is certainly the concert for any beginning string student to attend - or any string lover."

Tickets are $28 for adults and $24 for seniors. Student tickets are $12. Tickets can be purchased through any Ticketmaster location, by calling Ticketmaster at 404-249-6400, or by visiting the Gwinnett Center Box Office at 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway in Duluth. For more information about the Gwinnett Philharmonic, visit www.gwinnettphilharmonic.org.

Holley Calmes is a freelance writer and public relations consultant specializing in the arts. E-mail hcalmes@mindspring.com.