This should have been a golden year for the Stamford Young Artists Philharmonic . It celebrated its 50th anniversary in May with a gala reunion concert that executive director Joyce DiCamillo described as magical. But the recession has been making it hard for the ensemble to offer scholarships, which are key to its viability.
Weve had a difficult time with this economy, says DiCamillo. Theres no one to underwrite the scholarships [for orchestra members]. The group also lost a $7,000 state grant this year. It adds up, she said. Which is why winning Santas Wish List would be particularly helpful, said DiCamillo.
Even so, the ensemble has gotten a boost by an invitation to perform at Gov.-elect Dannel Malloys inaugural ball in January.
The kids are very excited. Hes been on our honorary board for ages, said DiCamillo. The performance probably will include at least one patriotic selection, and Lord of the Dance will be on the list to celebrate his Irish heritage, said DiCamillo.
Founded in 1960 by Juilliard graduate Salvatore Princiotti, the group has performed for former President George H.W. Bush, at the New York Worlds Fair and on tour in Italy, to name a few engagements.
The orchestras ability to respond to such command performances is due to its members high level of expertise. The 50 young musicians in the philharmonic and offshoot ensembles must audition and, after acceptance, attend rigorous rehearsals to perfect their skills.
Historically, musical ability has been the only requirement since scholarships have been provided to those who need them. But difficult economic times have placed that in doubt.
Giving youngsters the opportunity to learn and perform music can have extended benefits, said DiCamillo. It can impact their whole lives. For some, its a defining experience.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.