By Alicia Doyle

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Karen Quinty Loberg/Ventura County Star

Ojai Youth Symphony concert to provide international music experience

 February27, 2014/Ventura County Star

Ojai, Calif. - From Argentine tangos to music from Japan, the Ojai Youth Symphony's performance titled "Music From Around the World" Monday will give the audience an aural world tour.

The concert at 7 p.m. at the Ojai Valley Community Church also will include "Overture in the Italian Style" by Franz Schubert and Alexander Borodin's piece "In the Steppes of Central Asia," said Andy Radford, of Ojai, co-founder of the symphony along with his wife, Amy Hagen.

The symphony is made up of three ensembles of musicians 6-18 years old.

"We strive for high-quality performances from the different-aged ensembles and find music that will let the audience leave with a tune still playing in their minds," Hagen said.

Sean Capron, a member for about five years, said his favorite song to perform is Schubert's "Overture" because it has a beautiful melody and features the woodwind section of the symphony.

"I enjoy being able to play fun music with wonderful and talented musicians around my age," said Capron, 17, of Ojai, who plays flute. "I hope that the audience will see the hard work, time and talent that every student in the symphony brings."

Oxnard resident Sophie Nguyen, 12, said she enjoys the tango because it's upbeat and fun.

"I hope the audience enjoys the variety of music from different cultures," the violinist said. "I hope many people will attend this concert, and other young musicians will get inspired to join the Ojai Youth Symphony."

The song "Fantasia on a Theme From Thailand" is a favorite for Calla Tolkmitt, 10, "because the song changes a lot — it begins pretty mellow, then moves to different rhythms."

The cellist has been with the symphony for three years.

"The positive impact I want is that ... even if you are young, or far away from a goal, as long as you work hard and keep on trying, you'll reach that goal," Calla said. "This is true for me because I had to work hard on these pieces."

Playing in an ensemble like an orchestra can be uplifting for young musicians, Radford said.

"The Ojai Youth Symphony strives to get results in an educating, fun manner, and for many students, this is a most enjoyable surprise," he said.

The symphony will work in the fall with local composer Ray Powers to present "Valley of the Moon Suite." The piece tells the story, through music and images, of the Ojai Valley, including the lives of the Chumash Indians who inhabited the area.

Rehearsals begin in September, with the first performance set for October.

"It's going to be a thrilling experience to work with the youth and hear them perform the work," Powers said.

He said the "Valley of the Moon Suite" may be the first orchestral piece written specifically about the Ojai Valley.

"It's exciting to watch it come to fruition and begin composing the work knowing there is a talented and eager group of musicians to perform it," said Powers, who is seeking funding to complete the project.

The concert, which begins at 7 p.m. will be free for students 18 and under and $9 for other guests.

Call 649-8086 or visit for more information.

If you go

What: "Music From Around the World"

When: March 3 at 7 p.m.

Where: Ojai Valley Community Church, 907 El Centro St.

Cost: Admission $9 or free for students 18 and younger

Information: 649-8086;

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