Coming Sunday: Summit Youth Orchestra plays with ‘Fire’ (360 video) |

Coming Sunday: Summit Youth Orchestra plays with ‘Fire’ (360 video)

Conductor Chris Jusell leads the Summit Youth Orchestra during a Sunday rehearsal at Dillon Community Church. The orchestra will perform in a free concert this Sunday at the church.
Eli Pace / |

If You Go

What: Summit Youth Orchestra presents “Music on Fire”

When: 7 p.m. Sunday

Where: Dillon Community Church

Info: A local, all-student orchestra will play Joseph Haydn’s “Symphony No. 59 (Fire),” Igor Stravinsky’s “The Firebird (Finale),” Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” and “Ring of Fire” by Johnny Cash. Admission is free. Donations will be accepted.

Summit Youth Orchestra

Ally Bierbaum, Andi Bierbaum, Jacob Brewer, Abril Butler, Peri Habermas, Sam Hull, Josie Jardon, Skylar Lebow, Katerina Lee, Taylor Ann Lee, Rilla Long, Misha Martin-Williams, Ella Reed, Malachi Ryan, Simeon Ryan, Levi Quandt and Isaac Webster

Fall for the Summit Youth Orchestra came with a water-based concert theme so it’s only fitting the group’s playing with fire for its spring recital.

On the program for the free 7 p.m. performance Sunday at Dillon Community Church, the 17-member youth orchestra — comprised entirely of area students in grades seven through 12 — will play three pieces with fire in their titles, including one from composer Joseph Haydn’s “Symphony No. 59,” also known as the “Fire Symphony.” The other two are Igor Stravinsky’s “The Firebird” and “Ring of Fire” by Johnny Cash.

Standing as the lone exception to rule of fire is one of Leonard Cohen’s biggest hits, “Hallelujah.” The 1980s folk-rock song made popular by the often-dark, counter-culture artist with a hypnotic voice was added because it was one of the first songs performed by the orchestra when it was formed almost two years ago to give local students more opportunities to play.

For the four seniors about to graduate, it seemed like a good finale, and they will play it Sunday accompanied by a piano.

The collection of music was handpicked by the group’s conductor, 31-year-old Chris Jusell, and he said he chose those pieces for a reason.

“(The students) are bringing a pretty high level to difficult instruments like the saxophone, French horn, flute and oboe,” Jusell said during a break in their Sunday rehearsal. “Everyone is really doing hard work, and I’m not throwing very easy music at them. I don’t want to do super simple stuff. I’m throwing real music at them, and they are rising to the challenge.”

Adding to the challenge is the wide variation in styles — going from Stravinsky, one of the most influential composers of the 20th century, to arguably country music’s most celebrated artist, The Man in Black.

From Haydn, who died in 1809, to “Hallelujah,” released in 1984, the orchestra will cover multiple genres with pieces written centuries apart.

The musicians had to try out earlier this year for their seats on the orchestra, which features a few sets of siblings and 13-year-old Isaac Webster, who played some Mozart with the Summit Community Orchestra last week.

“My thing is I love the mixing of styles,” Jusell said. “Previously we had done a classical concert and then pop, but I like doing both on the same program. What I want for this is to do music we like so I hope that the kids being excited about it playing translates to it sounding better, which translates to the audience being more excited about it too.”

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