California State University, Northridge and the Valley Performing Arts Center (VPAC) will be the first stop for the Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles (YOLA) on its 10th Anniversary Tour on Oct. 23.
YOLA has provided underserved communities with free instruments and intensive music training for the past 10 years.
According to the Los Angeles Philharmonic, which created the program in 2007 as Music and Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel’s signature initiative, YOLA serves 750 students in three different community programs, and it reaches many more young people through classes at 15 elementary schools.
Eighty YOLA students will embark on their first tour, beginning at the VPAC and traveling across California for a finale in Oakland a week later, where they will be conducted by Dudamel.
“It has been a dream come true to see how much the YOLA program has grown over the last 10 years, and inspiring to watch the students become wonderful musicians and create an amazing community together,” Dudamel said.
Isaac Green, a music performance junior at CSUN, has participated in YOLA for the past eight years. After graduating from high school, he also graduated from YOLA as a student but has remained an active member by volunteering in the program as an alumnus. Green will join the tour as a bassist at the VPAC performance.
“I’m not sure I would’ve gotten into the music program [at CSUN] if I didn’t have YOLA,” Green said.
He has played under Dudamel’s direction a few times before, but Green said that performing at the VPAC on his home campus will be wonderful and rewarding. Dudamel also expressed excitement about the concert’s location.
“I’m incredibly proud of the students in YOLA and all their hard work rehearsing for this tour, and we’re honored to have the first date of the first tour happen right here in our own community of Southern California,” Dudamel said.
To prepare for the upcoming tour, Green and other YOLA musicians have been logging two group lessons and two orchestra rehearsals per week.
As a member of one of the program’s first graduating classes, Green has played more than 20 shows with the organization. The program has helped take him out of his comfort zone and cultivated his teamwork and communication skills, he said.
“YOLA is a family,” Green said. “That’s one of the reasons I keep coming back.”
Green said that seeing his fellow musicians grow, especially in musical skill, has been one of the most rewarding aspects of the YOLA program.
Eventually, he aims to step even further out of his comfort zone by offering lessons of his own within the program.
“It is immeasurable what they gave to me,” said Green. “I couldn’t be the player I am today without them.”
For tickets and more information about the YOLA 10th Anniversary Tour performance, visit the VPAC Ticket Office or call (818) 677-3000.