BENNINGTON - At 4 p.m. on Sunday, March 16, Sage City Symphony will present its annual Youth Concert at Bennington College's Greenwall Auditorium. The orchestra will premiere works by six students from local colleges (Bennington College, Williams College, and the College of Saint Rose). Since 2009, the orchestra has performed one concert each season with five or six works by students, alternating yearly between college and high school composers.
The students in this year's concert include four from Bennington College (Seamus Carey, Liam Dailey, Christian Mailloux, Zack Weishaus), one from Williams College (Sato Matsui), and one from the College of Saint Rose (Tom Monkell). Their backgrounds and interests vary considerably, from involvement in garage bands, rock and jazz ensembles, to study of classical violin, Irish fiddling, mandolin, electric guitar, and brass instruments.
Only two of this year's composers had already written for orchestra. The students write compositions five or six minutes long and give their own program notes, just as they would in the professional world. Some choose to write for a particular segment drawn from the orchestra, and some move beyond its usual boundaries, as in this year's concerto for electric guitar and orchestra.
Conductor Michael Finckel said the variety among the compositions always surprises and delights him.
The program benefits the orchestra as well as the students and their music programs, in part simply by bringing in a broader audience.