The 50 Young Artists of the Atlanta Music Project Gilbert House-South Bend Orchestra performed a splendid holiday concert last Saturday December 14. Sponsored by MailChimp and held at the Rosel Fann Recreation Center, the audience of 150 included parents and families, as well as City of Atlanta Councilmember Joyce Sheperd.

Posing after the concert. From L to R: Kevin Smith, AMP Double Bass Teaching Artist, Atlanta City Councilmember Joyce Sheperd, Dantes Rameau, AMP Executive Director, AMP Young Artist Joshua Sheperd, Sheperd family member, Aisha Bowden, Director of AMPlify, Averil Taylor, AMP Lead Wind Teaching Artist, Ismail Akbar, AMP Cello Teaching Artist. Photo by Anthony Alston Jr.

Because the age range within the AMP GH-SB Orchestra spanned from kindergarten to 9th grade, the concert was presented in a variety show format of different instrumental ensembles, from beginners to more advanced players.

Starting off the show with three choral numbers was the AMP GH-SB Choir, made up of all young artists K through 2 from both sites. They were led by choral conductor Chanell Childers with accompaniment on piano by AMP’s own Aisha Bowden.  This was the first opportunities for these children to perform in an official AMP concert. The same group then took out their instruments to perform in their small ensembles.

Atlanta Music Project Violin Teaching Artist Yulmarys Zambrano leads AMP’s beginner strings in performance. Photo by Anthony Alston Jr.

Led by AMP Violin Teaching Artist, Yulmarys Zambrano, the Gilbert House Beginner Strings performed four selections: the D Major scale, Walking Along and Good King Wenceslas. All these students started in September 2013 and we look forward to hearing their progress in 2014.

Flute and Fife Ensemble led by AMP Flute Teaching Artist Jessica Sherer. Photo by Anthony Alston Jr.

The South Bend Flute and Fife Ensemble consisted of six young students from kindergarten through fifth grade. With some of the youngest artists not yet able to reach all the keys on a regular flute, AMP Flute Teaching Artist, Jessica Sherer,  decided to create a flute ensemble with fifes, a sort of small, high-pitched transverse flute. This ensemble performed four numbers, including that perennial holiday favorite, Jingle Bells.

Atlanta Music Project South Bend Wind Ensemble in concert, conducted by AMP’s Lead Wind Teaching Artist, Averil Taylor. Photo by Anthony Alston Jr.

The South Bend Wind Ensemble opened the second half of the show and performed six numbers. The ensemble got a bonus with the gracious participation on percussion and tuba of students from the Carver High School band. A big thank you to Mr. Ezekiel Johnson, band director at Carver High School for his support and participation. The highlight of the Wind Ensemble performance was their last piece, Sleigh Ride, which included a great trumpet solo by AMP young artist Solomon Carr. Averil Taylor, AMP’s Lead Wind Teaching Artist led the Wind Ensemble, in his first official AMP performance. And there’s more: Mr. Averil and his students will be performing for Mayor Kasim Reed at an event this Friday December 20! Pictures and story will be posted!

Atlanta Music Project Gilbert House String Orchestra performing under the direction of AMP Executive Director, Dantes Rameau. Photo by Anthony Alston Jr.

To close out the concert, the AMP Gilbert House String Orchestra performed four selections. With some of these students in their fourth year with AMP, the String Orchestra is able to perform very entertaining and recognizable classical music. AMP Violin Teaching Artist, Yulmarys Zambrano, led the students in Corelli’s Christmas Concerto and AMP Executive Director, Dantes Rameau, led the other numbers: Bach’s Sleepers Awake from his famous church cantata BWV 140, Dance of the Reed Flutes from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite and the Finale of Tchaikovsky’s string serenade.

The young artists received a well-deserved standing ovation. Since September 2013, they rehearsed 160 hours for their holiday performance. Speaking at the end of the performance Councilmember Sheperd mentioned how impressed she was with our young musicians and how the City of Atlanta needed to continue to financially and moraly support the Atlanta Music Project.

AMP wishes to recognize the staff at the Gilbert House and South Bend Center for Arts and Culture for their support, as well as the City of Atlanta for providing the concert venue and for their continued support.

We hope you will continue to support us by coming out to the next concert of the AMP Gilbert House-South Bend Orchestra scheduled for March 9, 2014. Happy Holidays!