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Published: Friday, 1/23/2004

Kids, pros make music side by side

Youth meets experience on Sunday afternoon when the Toledo Symphony and Toledo Youth Orchestra join forces at the Toledo Museum of Art Peristyle for their fifth annual side-by-side concert. The stage will be filled to overflowing. So will the enthusiasm.

"This is a good opportunity for us to try to raise the students' playing to the next level. We can help them learn to listen, match, and blend," said Toledo Symphony principal clarinetist Georg Klaas.

The Side-By-Side collaboration began in 2000, the Youth Orchestra's 50th anniversary season. Toledo Symphony's Andrew Sewell and the Toledo Youth Orchestra's Michael A. Miller conducted.

"That first concert was terrific. There are so many wonderful teachers in the Toledo Symphony, and here they were, on stage with their students. For the students, getting to play side-by-side with the pros was a great educational experience, worth a thousand of my lectures" said Miller, who has directed the Toledo Youth Orchestra for the past 29 years.

Toledo Symphony violist Reed Anderson has four students in the Toledo Youth Orchestra. Quite possibly, one will be his stand partner. For certain, they will all sit nearby. Getting this opportunity to make music together is "a lot of fun for everyone," said Anderson.

"I like teaching, but playing in an orchestra is why I play the viola. I love being inside the music itself. In this concert we all get to be on the inside. It's a great opportunity for my students to learn about ensemble playing. After having been the teacher for so many years, it's fun to get to be a partner," he said.

Perrysburg High School junior Anna Ballmer, the youth orchestra's co-principal violinist, expects Sunday to be the highlight of her music season.

"We are pretty lucky to have this opportunity. It gives me a whole different understanding of what it must be like to be in a professional orchestra."

The Toledo Youth Orchestra and Toledo Symphony play music by Saint-Saens, Rimsky-Korsakov, Mussorgsky, and others when they team up for a side-by-side concert at 3 p.m. Sunday in the Toledo Museum of Art Peristyle.

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