The kids are more than all right

Last night I had the opportunity to assist conductor Ward Stare in judging the Saint Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra percussion auditions. I have done this in the past, but it’s been a few years.

Right from the start something jumped out at me: there has been a real change in the level of mallet playing. The marimba has really taken hold as a solo instrument and the quality of playing is dramatically improved – the accuracy and musicality of the performances was very impressive.

There were several interesting compositions also, including one that I was unfamiliar with, the second movement of October Night, by Michael Burritt. St. Louis has always had (at least in my lifetime) a strong tradition of orchestral percussion and now it looks as if solo marimba playing is catching up rapidly.