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Hawaii Youth Symphony

Performed By Youth, For Youth: “Listen & Learn” Concerts

Many professional orchestras have educational concerts, but among youth orchestras, HYS is in a league of its own. Inspired by Leonard Bernstein’s Young People’s Concerts, HYS “Listen & Learn” concerts are attended by dozens of public, private, and home schools each year. Thanks to our community partners, these concerts are admission-free and widely attended. This season, our students will have performed 8 concerts for over 10,000 students on Oahu and Kauai.

These narrated concerts not only introduce the audience to orchestral instruments, what to listen for, and how to enjoy classical music, but they also engage HYS students in service-learning opportunities that have profound community impact. For many attendees, our “Listen & Learn” is their only musical experience of the year.

Hannah Watanabe and Wayne Fanning, both Conductors of Concert Orchestra, lead the planning and scripting of CO’s “Listen & Learn” concerts. Fanning considers them a wonderful opportunity for students to play for a very young and enthusiastic audience, noting, “Many of the students have played music for a competition, festival, exam, or audition—but sometimes students need to play music merely for the sake of sharing their art with others.”

Adds Watanabe, “For many students in the audience, the Listen & Learn concert is their first time hearing or seeing a live symphony orchestra. In turn, our HYS students get to experience the joy music can bring to others, understand ways they can positively influence people in the community, and learn how music has shaped their lives in a unique and powerful way. It is a joy and an honor to be able to offer this community outreach every year, and I never get tired of it!”

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