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Central Valley Youth Symphony

The Central Valley Youth Symphony, founded in 1965, serves youth ages 8-22.

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Pacific News

Youth symphony takes next downbeat as part of Pacific’s Conservatory of Music

Aug 17, 2018

The Central Valley Youth Symphony (CVYS), which has played to standing ovations at venues such as New York City's Carnegie Hall and the Sydney Opera House in Australia, will now be part of Pacific's Conservatory of Music.
The CVYS, formed in 1965, merged with the conservatory in July to begin a new era for the storied Stockton musical group serving young musicians ages 8-22.

"We're thrilled to formally welcome CVYS into the Pacific family," said conservatory Dean Peter Witte. "Conversations about a merger began years ago with then-Dean Giulio Ongaro and CVYS Executive Director Susan Pirie. Together, they recognized that both organizations shared a commitment to music education in our region. Each week, our students and faculty will coach CVYS students, many of whom may imagine their future at Pacific."

The youth symphony has played an important role locally and seeks to support the essential work of area music educators in area schools. Under the batons of conductor Thomas Derthick, who also teaches string bass at Pacific and is the CVYS music director, and conductor and violinist Shane Kalbach, the young musicians meet weekly to rehearse the works of classic and contemporary composers. The students also learn to collaborate with a range of professional musicians.
For CVYS cellist Caleb "CJ" Dingle, a 15-year old student at the Venture Academy in Stockton, joining a symphony was always a dream.

"When we found out about the CVYS, I decided I would give it a try," he said. "I prepared for the audition and wished to make it even to the preparatory (orchestra). When I made it to the symphony orchestra, I felt as if all my dreams had come true."

Dingle has no doubts that the youth symphony played a huge part in his young life.

"CVYS made me realize what I want to do in the future," he said. "I want to continue playing cello in college as part of the symphony and major in music therapy."

The youth symphony was formed as a group made up entirely of musicians playing string instruments in 1965 by Ralph Matesky, Stockton Symphony's music director, and Doris Byron, its assistant concertmaster and music educator. Woodwinds and brass musicians were added the following year as it also gained the sponsorships of San Joaquin Delta College and the San Joaquin County Office of Education. The symphony later became an independent nonprofit.
"The new partnership between the Central Valley Youth Symphony and the University of the Pacific Conservatory of Music is wonderful for young people making music in our community," Derthick said.
CVYS operated for 53 years as an independent nonprofit, successfully run by parent volunteers, but without a permanent home or the means to hire professional staff.
"With our new partnership, CVYS gains conservatory marketing, technology and other services, augmenting the already deep connections Pacific faculty and students have in coaching and mentoring our young musicians," said Derthick. "The future promises even more benefits for our orchestra, as integration with Pacific's successful music education, performance and music management programs will move forward the missions of both the conservatory and the youth symphony."

To learn more about Central Valley Youth Symphony, visit Auditions for the CVYS are Aug. 28-30 and the online registration form is now available.

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