The Concert Ensemble is one of only a handful of youth performing groups of its kind in the United States. No other instrumental program in the state is comparably recognized for the high quality of its instruction and performances.
One of only a handful of youth performing groups of its kind in the United States, the Concert Ensemble defies the limits of the harp. Younger students advance into this group by auditioning and, often, by having performed successfully with the Lyra and Intermezzo Ensembles. The Concert Ensemble has a full schedule of performances on the national level and throughout the Richmond Metro and Central Virginia region.
The Concert Ensemble has garnered local and national attention in and for our region through numerous local, national and international venues such as Carnegie Hall and the United Nations, music festivals in Edinburgh, Scotland, Paris, France, London, England and Rome and Milan, Italy, for the Association of Personnel in Public Radio National Conference (Portland, OR), and subsequent broadcasts of AYHE recordings on National Public Radio affiliate stations across the US and in an hour-long PBS special slated for national release in the fall of 2007. In the metro area alone, the AYHE performed over fifty concerts during its 2006-2007 season, strategically choosing locations of concerts to perform in all geographic regions in and around Metro Richmond, such as the city and all the surrounding counties, as well as to a variety of different religious and economically-placed communities to increase accessibility and bring music to diverse communities.
Through these amazing opportunities and experiences students gain an appreciation for the high rewards of their hard work and discipline and strive for new challenges as they advance. Such experiences have inspired students to pursue music as a career, whether it is performance, education, or music therapy.
For one senior from Richmond Public Schools, the Ensemble has been the one stabilizing pursuit in an otherwise precarious home life. A member since middle school, she has had the opportunity to perform domestically and abroad touring with the Concert Ensemble and was chosen to perform a concerto as soloist with the Richmond Philharmonic Orchestra. Now, as she looks to college and beyond, the harp represents her best chance to move beyond the cycle of poverty into which she was born.