Santa Barbara Junior Orchestra
The Santa Barbara Junior Orchestra is designed for beginning and intermediate strings and wind players, ages 9-14. In this ensemble, students learn the basics of ensemble playing and work together to prepare and perform music for three concerts throughout the year. Currently, the Santa Barbara Junior Orchestra is made up of about 75 young musicians that are striving to improve their skills so that they can move into the Santa Barbara Youth Symphony when ready. This group meets every Sunday afternoon under Conductor Marisa McLeod.
Young musicians who are interested in developing their ensemble skills and working to learn the skills necessary for them to grow to the next level are encouraged to participate. During the last hour of rehearsal, intermediate students break off to meet as a smaller chamber ensemble. In this group, young musicians are challenged to learn how to play without a conductor. Through the audition process, Ms. McLeod and her team of coaches determine which students are advanced enough for this smaller ensemble experience. The fundamental goal of the Junior Orchestra is for students to begin the ensemble preparation for admission into the Youth Symphony. In addition, it is very important that students feel successful and have fun as they develop their musicianship. All students are accepted into the Junior Orchestra. Each year an audition is held for placement purposes only.
Junior Orchestra Conductor
Marisa McLeod, violinist and a native of Newark, New Jersey, began her study of the violin at the age of three. She received her Bachelor of Music degree at Montclair State University, and her Master of Music degree from the University of Rochester’s Eastman School of Music. Ms. McLeod is also Suzuki certified from the School for Strings in New York City, and the Eastman School under Anastasia Jempelis. Ms. McLeod was a member of the Anderson String Quartet for 10 years. She has played with many other quartets, such as the Juilliard String Quartet, American String Quartet, Le Quatuor de Deux Monde in Fontaineblau, France, and the Cleveland Quartet, with Peter Salaff as her private teacher. Ms. McLeod has also performed and recorded for artists including Snoop Dogg, Smokey Robinson, En Vogue, Moesha, Stevie Wonder, and Earth Wind & Fire.
Presently, Ms. McLeod performs with the California Philharmonic, Santa Barbara Symphony, Pasadena Symphony & Pops, and various other orchestras in Southern California. She is a former violin instructor at the Renaissance Arts Academy and maintains a home studio.For Marisa, performance is sustenance. She relishes the interdependence between art, the artist and the audience, and as a teacher and coach she finds herself in the enviable position of being able to pass on to others the how-to of creating this loving relationship.
Amy Williams, DMA
Director of Education & Community Engagement