Oct. 31--Music for Youth is devoted to one thing: instilling a love of classical music into school children
5 to 18 in Fairfield County.
It's a mission that the nonprofit arts organization has done with great passion and success for nearly 25 years, said Cynthia Cummiskey, executive director.
"Music for Youth believes that music is the perfect means of bridging gaps between people from different communities and cultures, and a chance for students to comfortably move from their own environment into an unfamiliar one by jointly tackling music-making together," she explained.
One of its annual events is its benefit "Rising Stars" Concert, featuring gifted young musicians from area towns and cities throughout the region. This year's event will take place Sunday, Nov. 3, at 5 p.m. at Trinity Church in Fairfield. Proceeds will support MFY's free Young Persons' Concert Series at the Pequot Library in Fairfield and the school music residency program in Bridgeport.
Cummiskey said that the monthly library concerts have attracted many families.
"Music for Youth brings the world's best (professional) musicians -- string players, pianists, singers, percussionists, wind and brass ensembles and traditional music experts -- to dazzle youngsters with their virtuosity and musical sensitivity," she said. "These artists are winners of international competitions and members of award-winning ensembles. They perform programs specifically devised to engage young audiences and introduce them to the classical literature in the most positive way possible. Most performers also offer free master classes for budding young performers after the concerts, further inspiring the next generation ..."
Cummiskey said Sunday's concert will present eight musical acts featuring accomplished student musicians discovered through MFY programs.
One of Sunday's performers is McKenna Mase, a pianist for nine years, of Trumbull, a member of the Shoreline Piano Trio.
"MFY not only gives me the opportunity to listen to artists, but also gives me the opportunity to learn from them in a master-class setting. Having another professional hear me play gives me a new and different perspective on my music," wrote the 15-year-old St. Joseph High School sophomore in an email.
In the "younger than 10" set will be the Suzuki piano duo of Joy Xu and Alan Becker, both of Westport. Alan has been studying piano for exactly half his life.
"I've gone to the Music for Youth concerts with my mom and dad for four years. They are fun and exciting. I like it when the performers talk to the audience. I learn a lot," the 8-year-old wrote.
Also on the program is Westport violinist Ellie Shapiro, 14, a freshman at Staples High School, a winner of the 2013 American Chamber Orchestra's Concerto Competition. She and her siblings have raised more than $20,000 for medical charities as a family trio.
"Music for Youth has been a very special part of my musical experience for as long as I can remember," wrote Ellie. "I have been going to concerts hosted by the organization for years with my siblings, and it has been a wonderful family activity and learning experience every time. My brother, my sister, and I have all participated in Music for Youth events, and it was always inspiring to be given exciting performance opportunities and come into contact with extraordinary professional musicians.
"My first performance was in a master class with Rachel Barton Pine. ... It sparked an interest in, and love for, classical music that has been a central and grounding part of my life ever since. This is my second benefit performance, and I am grateful that I am able to give back and show my appreciation for Music for Youth and all it has done for me."
firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @PhyllisASBoros
Trinity Church, 651 Pequot Ave., Fairfield. Sunday, Nov. 3, at 5 p.m. $50 reserved, $35 general seating; $25 reserved for 18 and younger; $20 general seating for 18 and younger; family of four/general seating, $120. www.musicforyouth.net
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