By Joel Hall
In an effort to spread musical education throughout the metro Atlanta area, Spivey Hall opened its Young People's Concert (YPC) series earlier this week.
For one dollar, students will have a chance to listen, and learn, from some of the best musicians and educators the world has to offer.
This year's series will feature 28 days of concerts, from now until the end of March. Amber Dimkoff, education manager at Spivey Hall, said the concerts aim to inspire a new generation of musicians and create lifelong patrons of music.
"I set a goal of getting musicians who are not just great performers, but who can also teach them something," said Dimkoff. "The performers are very good at what they do, but they are also good teachers."
Dimkoff said last year, the concert series attracted more than 15,000 students, the highest attendance in eight years. This year, the concerts pull from a variety of musical genres, including choral works, jazz, world music, dance, opera, and early childhood music.
Notable, upcoming performances include: Empire Brass (Dec. 8), North America's premiere brass quintet; The Clark Atlanta University Jazz Orchestra (Feb. 11), one of the top university jazz ensembles in the country; and the Augusta Opera (Feb. 26-27), who will give four separate performances of "The Pirates of Penzance," a comic opera by W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan.
Georgia State University Choral Director Randall Hooper and the Georgia State Singers, the university's premiere choral ensemble, launched the performance series.
Before a sold-out audience of mostly metro area high school students on Tuesday, the Georgia State Singers sang a number of choral arrangements, dating back to the Baroque era.
Included in the program were the works of famous composers, Johann Pachelbel, Franz Joseph Haydn, Jules Massenet, as well as modern pieces composed by popular, living, choral directors, including John Rutter, Morten Lauridsen, and Hooper, himself.
Hooper said the concert series is a good opportunity to encourage students to take their musical careers to the next level.
"I think, sometimes, we underestimate what high school students can appreciate," said Hooper. "I would say that most high school students don't [often] get to go to a concert hall and see a live performance. Maybe there was a piece that struck a chord with them.
"I hope there was something that inspired everyone, and hopefully, it will inspire them to research," Hooper continued. "I hope it excited them about performing music and inspired them to reach a higher level of performance."
The next performance in the YPC series will be given by African Dance Connection, an African drumming and dance ensemble. The concert will take place on Tuesday, Oct. 28, at 9:45 a.m., and 11:15 a.m.
Tickets for all YPC performances are $1, but arrangements must be made in advance. For more information, visit www.spiveyhall.org/education.