3,900 fourth-grade students from over 30 Pasadena-area schools came together at Walt Disney Concert Hall for the annual Pasadena Showcase House for the Arts Youth Concert held on Wednesday, February 1st. Presented with the LA Phil, the Youth Concert is a free concert designed to weave musical concepts, humor, dancers, and educational information into an engaging program for the students. Since its inception in 1953, more than 250,000 fourth-graders have participated.
This year’s production was Igor Stravinsky’s 1919 version of The Firebird Suite, based on a classic Russian folktale. The performance, which tells the story of a handsome prince, his beautiful princess, and the magical bird that saves them from evil, was conducted by Dudamel Conducting Fellow Rodolfo Barraez, and set to dance. Each student is given a program with lessons disguised in games and puzzles while teachers are provided additional materials to supplement in the classroom.
For most of the students, this was the first opportunity to experience the remarkable architecture of Walt Disney Concert Hall, and their first exposure to classical symphonic music in a world-class concert hall. “We were thrilled to once again bring thousands of local youth to this treasured music venue,” said Youth Concert Chair Helen Gipson. “Seeing nearly 100 school buses lined up outside Walt Disney Concert Hall is a welcome sight after a two-year hiatus.” During 2021 and 2022, the Youth Concert was presented virtually for classrooms across the globe.
Pasadena Showcase President Vikki Sung praised the LA Phil for its continued partnership. “The LA Phil has been a part of Pasadena Showcase House for the Arts since our inception in 1948 as the Pasadena Junior Philharmonic Committee. It is a joy for our members to celebrate 75 years of supporting the LA Phil, its Learning programs and our shared mission of extending access to music and the arts throughout Southern California.”
The Youth Concert is funded by the annual Pasadena Showcase House of Design, with additional support from the Green Foundation. Pasadena Showcase’s other musical programs include the Music Mobile for third graders and the Instrumental Competition for high school students. In addition, the organization awards Gifts & Grants to a diverse list of local and regional nonprofit organizations in support of their efforts in the community. To date, Pasadena Showcase House for the Arts has contributed over $24 million to music programs in Southern California.