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Inner City Youth of Los Angeles Perform Season Finale Concert  – Los Angeles Sentinel | Los Angeles Sentinel

The orchestra receives a standing ovation at the final concert of the 2019 season. (Courtesy photo)

Self-propelled. Committed to perfection. Ignition devices. It describes the nine African-American high school instrumentalists who approached Charles Dickerson in June 2009 asking him to work with them on the orchestral repertoire. By the end of the summer, they had expanded to 24 players and learned enough music to give a recital.

After that, the teens got carried away, playing at weddings and other events, including a headline performance as part of the unveiling ceremonies for the MLK Memorial on the National Mall. This experience transformed the group into the nonprofit Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles (ICYOLA).

Eleven years, many concerts, free music lessons and scholarships later, the orchestra lives on, and founder/executive director/conductor Charles Dickerson is still mining the musical and academic potential of inner-city Los Angeles youth.

ICYOLA rehearsal in full swing. (Courtesy photo)

“We know that what we do lifts the spirits of the young people of our community. By teaching [them] the great music of the world and by providing them with opportunities to perform that music in the most magnificent venues in our city, we are preparing them for advanced learning and high-caliber success in music and other disciplines,” says Dickerson.

“We instill the additional benefits that high-quality music education provides: problem-solving skills, critical thinking, self-confidence, self-reliance, self-discipline, and the crystallization and pursuit of a meaningful purpose.”

ICYOLA prides itself on hosting its members for free and fostering what Dickerson calls a “family culture,” where more experienced players teach the less experienced and competition is not a factor.

The orchestra laughs during the performance. (Courtesy photo)

The main group is aged 12 to 25, although they have also taken 10-year-olds. Formal rehearsals are held weekly for two hours, but members are often so committed that most rehearse a total of 10-15 hours per week.

This work ethic benefits youth in other areas of life. “Ninety-nine percent of our members go to college,” Dickerson says proudly. “Our members are the best young people in the nation.”

This particular week of rehearsals will culminate with a performance at the Walt Disney Concert Hall for their 14th Annual Season Finale Concert on Sunday, July 10th. As the 3pm show sold out, a second one was added at 7.30pm

ICYOLA’s 2022 season finale will feature an ambitious program of musical works ranging from “Lift Every Voice and Sing” to Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” with original musical tributes to Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, the people of Ukraine and those killed by violence from the last final concert.

Another highlight will be the orchestra’s “Tribute to Marvin Gaye,” featuring the legend’s hits like “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” and “What’s Going On,” along with dance accompaniment by the Debbie Allen Dance Academy.

“Our concert season is always completely free, except for our season finale. But this year we are offering tickets to the community for free in recognition of their support [we’ve received] over the years and especially during the siege of the COVID pandemic,” said Dickerson, who would like to expand the teaching of the principles embraced in the orchestra to all young people in the African-American and Latino communities.

“My personal mantra is that there should be a youth band program in the city in every city that has an NFL team. If we can help our young people reach a higher level of success in life, our lives will not have been in vain.”

Book tickets or make a donation at iyola.org/seasonfinale/.

Inner City Youth of Los Angeles Perform Season Finale Concert  – Los Angeles Sentinel | Los Angeles Sentinel Source link Inner City Youth of Los Angeles Perform Season Finale Concert  – Los Angeles Sentinel | Los Angeles Sentinel

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