Youth music students give first recital |

Youth music students give first recital

Photo by Colin FisherFourth-grader Betsy Davis Works her way through two pieces at the Truckee Youth Symphony Music Program spring recital Wednesday.

Third-grader Sierra Castillo had never played, let alone picked up a flute until the beginning of this school year.

It didn’t stop her from getting on stage, though, to play for an audience of more than 40 parents, students and siblings Wednesday night for the Truckee Youth Music Program’s spring recital.

“It’s difficult for someone to learn how to play music, so it’s cool that I had the chance,” Castillo said, calm as can be, just minutes before her performance of Aloha ‘Oe.

Castillo is one of 20 students taking part in the inaugural year of the Truckee Youth Music, a private music instruction program geared toward students who could not otherwise afford lessons.

The students had one 30-minute lesson per week, and the rest of the practicing was up to them at home.

Eight months after the start of the program, the students had flawless, recital-ready performances.

Furthermore, the founder of Truckee Youth Music Program is just a student herself. Tahoe Truckee High School student junior Laurel Barchas came up with the concept, raised funding, and implemented the program, with help from her friends and band mates Lindsay Buchanan, Lindsey Hines, Emma Shaffer, Chris Brouwers, Sara Grossman and Kate MacKenzie.

Barchas wanted every student to have the option to play music, something she has enjoyed since her childhood.

Recently, Barchas was awarded for her efforts in starting the program. She was chosen as one of two students in California to receive a Prudential Spirit of Community Award, a nationwide program honoring young people for outstanding acts of volunteerism. Earlier this month she went to Washington, D.C., to accept the honor.

The hard work of Barchas, her fellow music teachers and their students proved to be successful at Wednesday night’s performance.

The students gave strong performances – many of them playing without sheet music.

One of the students, fourth-grader Rebecca Noble, even composed an original song on the piano to perform at the recital.

“This has inspired me,” said Barchas’ father, Andy Barchas. “I think I’m going to start playing piano… I asked my daughter if she would teach me, and she said she’d do it.”

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