‘The Secret Garden in Concert’ at Young Artists of America by Brent and Linda Stone

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Young Artists of America (YAA) presented classics from the musical The Secret Garden for their annual fall concert, held at the Cultural Arts Center at Silver Spring. The 80 high-school aged performers, sounded little like teenage musicians as they sang and played in the orchestra with technical superiority and such musicality that the soaring score resonated in the audience’s very soul.

(L-R): Elizabeth Doerrman, Sara Franklin-Gillette, Chloe Malouf & Adam Goldstein. Photo by Richard Udell.
(L-R): Elizabeth Doerrman, Sara Franklin-Gillette, Chloe Malouf & Adam Goldstein. Photo by Richard Udell.

The Secret Garden is a musical based on the beloved novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett. The musical’s score is by Lucy Simon (Broadway debut) and the book and lyrics are by renowned playwright Marsha Norman (‘night, Mother, The Color Purple). The Secret Garden premiered on Broadway in 1991 and earned three Tony awards and two Drama Desk Awards establishing its place as a modern musical theater classics.

The Secret Garden performance was narrated by William E. Kirwan, Chancellor, University System of Maryland, bridging the story action between the selected pieces. The concert style presentation provided YAA the opportunity to feature a variety of talented singers throughout the evening. The hauntingly beautiful, opera-style trio, I Heard Someone Crying, was performed by Emma Rothfield as Lily, Amanda Primosch as Mary and Ari Goldbloom-Helzner as Archie. The favorite solo of young girls, The Girl I Mean To Be, was sung by alto Elizabeth Doerrman as Mary Lennox herself. The classic brother duet, Lily’s Eyes, featured Nikolas Krieger as Neville and Adam Goldstein as Archie, and the heart-wrenching duet How Could I Ever Know?, highlighted Brenna McFarland as Lily and Adam Goldstein as Archie. The soloists demonstrated not only technical skill, but also the ability to convey the emotions of the words as well as that of soaring music. The performance was further enhanced by the superior blend and balance between the soloists.

The vocal ensemble expertly performed the intricate harmonies of There’s A Girl, The House Upon the Hill, Come Spirit Come Charm and the climaxing Finale. Kristofer Sanz, YAA’s Music Director and Conductor, led the 46-piece orchestra through the demanding, emotion filled score. Evelyn Song served as the orchestra’s Concertmaster. It was a privilege to hear the full orchestration of this powerful work and an even more rare treat to hear it played so perfectly by musicians this young.

The YAA Youth Orchestra and Vocal Ensemble performing 'The Secret Garden in Concert.' Photo by Richard Udell.
The YAA Youth Orchestra and Vocal Ensemble performing ‘The Secret Garden in Concert.’ Photo by Richard Udell.

The Young Artists of America is known for its core principle of bringing industry professionals in to work with their students. For this production YAA brought in American musical theatre composer, arranger, pianist, and conductor Jeanine Tesori (Violet, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Shrek), and New York Philharmonic Principal Clarinetist, Anthony McGill for master classes and mentoring. These types of opportunities are just one of the reasons that the concert began with an exciting announcement.

YAA Artistic Director, Rolando Sanz was joined onstage by some very prestigious names in the Arts in Maryland: Monica Jeffries Hazangeles, President of Strathmore; Eliot Pfanstiehl, CEO of Strathmore;  Carol Trawick, Chair of the Maryland State Arts Council; Anne Cantrel, Executive Director of the Trawick Foundation; Jill Herzog, Board President of Young Artists of America at Strathmore; Jennifer Boudrye, Executive Director of Young Artists of America at Strathmore; and Kristofer Sanz, Music Director of Young Artists of America at Strathmore.

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Strathmore CEO Eliot Pfanstiehl and President Monica Jeffries Hazangeles described how Strathmore has been looking for a way to bring musical theatre to its facility since the Music Center opened ten years ago. He announced that, due to the quality programming for young people and the unique student population that it serves, Young Artists of America has been named the first affiliate at Strathmore. As a result, YAA will have its offices at Strathmore and will benefit from the expert guidance in development, marketing and strategic planning from the Strathmore staff. The organization will now be known as Young Artists of America at Strathmore. [Read more below].

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YAA concludes their season with their spring production of Bernstein & Sondheim’s West Side Story plus Gouond’s Roméo et Juliette. on March 8, 2015 at The Main Concert Hall at The Music Center at Strathmore.

Vocal auditions are Thursday, Nov. 20th and Saturday, Nov 22nd at Winston Churchill High School. Register here.

Running Time: 60 minutes, with no intermission.

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The Secret Garden in Concert played for one-night-only on November 16, 2014 a the Cultural Arts Center at Silver Spring  – 7995 Georgia Avenue, in Silver Spring, MD.

LINKS

‘Young Artists of America’ is Now Young Artists of America at Strathmore. 

Young Artists of America Presents The Secret Garden’ in Concert TODAY at 4 PM.

‘The Secret Garden’ and ‘West Side Story + Roméo et Juliette’ Highlight Young Artists of America’s 2014-2015 ‘British Invasion’ Season by Rolando Sanz.

Highlight Young Artists of America’s 2014-2015 ‘British Invasion’ Season by Rolando Sanz.

Read all of DCMetroTheaterArts’ coverage of Young Artists of America.