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LETU's New Youth Orchestra Launches, Still Seeks Musicians


LeTourneau University has launched its new regional youth orchestra for talented young musicians from 9th to 12th grades and is still recruiting interested musicians through February 12, according to LETU Director of Fine Arts Jim Taylor, who added that gifted younger musicians in 7th or 8th grade may also be considered.

"We initially are seeking area strings players who play violin, viola, cello, and double bass," Taylor said. "We are starting with just strings, but if we have enough interest later, we will add brass.

"LeTourneau University's new Youth Orchestra will be led by Shannon Roberts, who has a degree in music education from the University of North Texas and has significant experience as a teacher and conductor," Taylor said. "She also plays violin in the Longview Symphony and teaches private lessons at LETU."

Taylor said that the Longview Symphony disbanded its Longview Symphony Youth Orchestra a few years ago, but that with the addition of Fine Arts program at LETU, the university is in a good position to launch this new youth orchestra to serve the community and give local musicians more playing and ensemble experience.

LETU Dean of the College of Education, Arts and Sciences Dr. Larry Frazier said that the LETU Youth Orchestra provides a value for local parents and students right here in Longview.
"By increasing our commitment to the Fine Arts, we are working to expand opportunities and also increase the value of the LETU experience," Frazier said.

The new LETU Youth Orchestra rehearses each Tuesday from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in Speer Chapel on the LETU main campus, 2100 S. Mobberly Ave. in Longview.

Concerts are being planned to be held in the university's Belcher Center, Speer Chapel and elsewhere in the community.

A participation fee of $75 per semester, per musician, is required for students to play in the youth orchestra. All students will have to audition.

In the fall semester, plans are for the youth orchestra to be offered as a dual-credit course providing college credit for high school students.

LETU students can participate for free this semester, but then later can take youth orchestra as a one-hour course for college credit, once the youth orchestra gets in the LETU course catalog for Fall 2018.

"This new youth orchestra expands LETU's footprint as we seek to become known for our ensembles and the arts," Taylor said. "We look forward to attracting bright, high-achieving students to our campus as well as providing our classically trained LETU students with a creative outlet, enriching the quality of their student life. We know that students who play instruments often outscore others on tests."

Taylor said that he doesn't seek to compete with students being involved in their high school band programs, but that the LETU Youth Orchestra is designed to provide a supplemental opportunity for local young musicians and homeschoolers to play their instruments and perform.

LeTourneau University is the Christian polytechnic university in the nation where educators engage students to nurture Christian virtue, develop competency and ingenuity in their professional fields, integrate faith and work, and serve the local and global community. LETU offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs across a range of disciplines and delivery models at LETU's residential campus in Longview, Texas, and in hybrid and fully online options at centers in the Dallas and Houston areas. For additional information, visit www.LETU.edu.

Categories: Fine Arts