Enid Youth Symphony performing free fall concert

ENID, Okla. — The public is invited to an afternoon of music at the second Enid Youth Symphony fall concert Dec. 15 at First Baptist Church, 401 W. Maine.

Performances will begin at 3 p.m. Admission is free, but donations are welcome.

Enid's Youth Symphony, only in its second year, is unique in that it has no affiliation to any school but, instead, is comprised of teens from across the area, and from a variety of backgrounds.

Members include students from Enid high and middle schools, Garber, Perry, Woodward, Medford, Oklahoma Bible Academy, Epic Charter School and even home-schooled musicians.

"The program has provided a lot of opportunity for home school students and people who don't have orchestras in their schools normally, to really get together and play," Enid Youth Symphony Director Alex Prokopis said.

His young musicians get plenty of help to from local professional players volunteering their time, often individually, to help sharpen skills and foster talent.

Prokopis moved to Enid four years ago, for a job teaching music in Enid Public Schools, with no notion of what to expect from his new home. He was surprised to find a musical community in Enid so established and so giving.

"The string community here is really strong, and the music community in general is very tight and close-knit," Prokopis said. "We've got middle schoolers playing high school level material right now because of the extra help we get."

This community youth music group he's dedicated himself to is new, but the idea to create something like it for Garfield County is not, he said.

"This all started when another string player in town, Kristin Koehn, reached out to me ... she had this vision of a youth music to supplement the needs of the community when it comes to musical opportunities," Prokopis said. "It's a vision that a lot of these string players in town, long before me, have always dreamed about, and we just happened to find the right group of people to bring together now."

In Enid Youth Symphony's first year, a humble 20 players took part, but in year two ranks have grown to 60, and two more groups have been established in addition to Enid Youth Symphony: Enid Youth Chamber Ensemble, and Enid Youth Winds. All three will perform at the fall concert.

"We're growing pretty quick," Prokopis said.

Members meet for two hours every Sunday in the First Presbyterian Church gymnasium to practice, and they've been practicing for their upcoming show since the first week of September.

"The kids are really excited about it," he said. "A lot of hard work was put in this semester ... and a lot of dedication, so they're excited to put on a concert and show off the talent they've created."

Enid Youth Symphony features stringed instrumentation only, though as the program continues to grow, Prokopis said he plans to develop a full-blown orchestra, complete with woodwinds and percussion, as early as next semester.

Enid Youth Chamber Ensemble is for younger or less experienced players looking to work their way up to the symphony.

Performing for the first time are the Enid Youth Winds, led by EPS band director Chris Hall. This group is the most like a traditional band, with brass, woodwinds and percussion, Prokopis said.

The afternoon's playlist is packed with crowd-pleasers, he said

"We've got a good mix going on. Some classic standards, and some Christmas music as well, so it'll be a great combination of everything."

For more information on the program, or the upcoming performance, look for Enid Youth Symphony on Facebook, or visit EnidYouthSymphony.org.

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Willetts is education and city reporter for the Enid News & Eagle.
Have a question about this story? Do you see something we missed? Do you have a story idea for Mitchell? Send an email to mwilletts@enidnews.com.

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