CSUN’s Youth Orchestra program nurtures developing musicians

Jorge Neri

On Sundays at 5 p.m., young musicians from throughout Southern California finish setting up for rehearsal at CSUN’s Cypress Hall. Between laughter and smiles, they take a seat to prepare for their conductor to arrive. It only takes one call to get the orchestra’s attention. They tune their instruments and rehearsal begins.

There is an expectation for each musician. They are all supposed to know what they are doing and where their part is. The conductor doesn’t hesitate to call out mistakes and demand the best performance possible.

With more than 250 musicians from about 30 different high, middle and elementary schools–most in the San Fernando Valley–young musicians have the opportunity to thrive in the CSUN Youth Orchestras.

For most members, the orchestras supplement the music education they’re receiving from school and private lessons.

“It’s like little league,” said John Roscigno, director of the CSUN Youth Orchestras and music professor at CSUN. “The kids probably get to play a little baseball and sports at school, but they want to join an organization outside of school and meet other kids from other schools. It’s the same thing with the youth orchestra.”