Charles County Youth Orchestra Director Osman Kivrak Celebrates Senior Graduates
Former graduates of the Charles County Youth Orchestra, Eileen Browning, Sam Chernoff, Candace Jackson, Sidney Lewis, Blythe McCammon and Kelsey Njembu were honored at the CCYO concert on Saturday, May 15.
Blythe McCammon, violinist and CCYO member for six years, will be attending Towson University to major in violin performance. She recalled that “I remember walking into my first rehearsal as a 7th grader and being bullied like I had never experienced before. Everyone was so much more old and so much better than me. But after that first rehearsal, the bullying went away and I had already made friends. CCYO helped me a lot to grow as a person and as a musician. CCYO offers students with musical opportunities not available elsewhere. Without CCYO, I don’t think I would have had the musical stimulation I needed to pursue my dreams and continue my musical journey through college.
Eileen Browning, cellist, will attend Florida State University in the fall to major in physics and astrophysics and plans to continue playing cello in college. She has also worked with CCYO for six years and commented, “I loved every concert and every CCYO rehearsal. It’s a community of players that I will miss a lot. ”
Clarinetist Sam Chernoff will be attending Emory University to major in Quantitative Sciences and his musical goal while in college is to start a Pep Band at Emory. Throughout his four years at the CCYO, he says he enjoyed the “ability to challenge myself by playing more classical pieces in a full orchestra.”
Kelsey Njembu, violinist, will attend Johns Hopkins University to study neuroscience and music on a pre-medical track. Kelsey, a CCYO member for 3 years, said “CCYO has been a wonderful and rewarding experience. I never thought I would be able to play the repertoire we perform, but being in CCYO proved otherwise.
Candace Jackson, cellist, will attend Howard University to major in music. Not only has Candace performed with the orchestra, she has also performed at both CCYO Chamber Music Festivals. She was a member of a quartet that qualified for the finals of the Washington Performing Arts Society’s Misbin Chamber Music Competition. Additionally, she performed at CCYO’s Secret Garden concerts at Christ Church last summer.
Sidney Lewis, violinist, will attend Towson University and plans a minor in music. She remarked that “the orchestra is absolutely amazing here!”
CCYO Director Dr. Osman Kivrak commented, “I am very pleased to see that the success of our senior graduates demonstrates the importance of practice, hard work and good study habits. Dr Kivrak added: “I am extremely proud of them all and wish them a very successful and exciting journey in the next part of their educational lives. We will miss them.
Upcoming CCYO events include the Third Annual Concerto Competition on June 4 at 3 p.m. at Christ Church, La Plata, performances by all four CCYO ensembles at Arts Fest La Plata on June 11 at noon, and the Music Festival chamber CCYO 2022 from July 12. at 30 with concerts at Christ Church, La Plata on July 16, 23 and 30 at 8 p.m. Additionally, various CCYO chamber music ensembles perform at local events such as the Alice Ferguson Foundation’s Pinot on the Potomac and the Charles County Arts Alliance Annual Membership Meeting.
CCYO is one of Southern Maryland’s largest youth organizations, providing music education and performance opportunities for talented young musicians ages 8-18 in Charles, Prince George’s, St. Mary’s and Calvert counties .
The Charles County Youth Orchestra is sponsored in part by grants from the Charles County Arts Alliance, the Maryland State Arts Council, the Rotary Club of Charles County, MD, the Charles County Charitable Trust, and the Knights of Columbus of Accokeek, MD . Other major contributors include Potters Violins, Gailes Violin Shop, and the Neighborhood Creative Arts Center in La Plata, as well as generous donations from individuals.