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The Santa Barbara Symphony Youth Ensembles Perform Free Concerts On May 4 at The First Presbyterian Church and May 5 at the Lobero Theatre

 In a spring celebration rich with blooming talent and the spirit of collaboration, the Santa Barbara Symphony Youth Ensembles will perform two free May concerts for the Santa Barbara community.   

The first performance on Saturday, May 4, 2024 at 3 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church features the Camerata Ensemble and Philharmonia Orchestra, directed by Marisa McLeod. The Music Academy of the West Sing! Children’s Chorus will join the Philharmonia Orchestra on I Dream a World by André Thomas, orchestrated by Robert Elhai (poem by Langston Hughes).

The second concert features the Santa Barbara Youth Symphony on Sunday, May 5, 2024 at 4 p.m. at the Lobero Theatre. Directed by Dr. Daniel Gee, the Youth Symphony will collaborate with the Westmont College Choir to perform select movements from Mendelssohn’s oratorio Elijah. Youth Symphony violinist and concerto competition winner Jane Kim is the featured soloist and will perform Bériot’s Scène de ballet with the orchestra. Both performances are free and open to the public. Tickets are not required. 

“As the only youth orchestra program in the region connected to a professional symphony and a college, the Santa Barbara Symphony’s multi-level Youth Ensembles program creates unique and valuable learning opportunities for young musicians to develop their leadership skills and connect with music and with each other,” said Kathryn R Martin, President & CEO of The Santa Barbara Symphony. 

“It is through community collaborations that Santa Barbara’s youth benefit, and we are pleased to welcome both the Music Academy Sing! Children’s Chorus and the Westmont College Choir. Working together with peers is a rare treat for our student musicians – and an inspiration to our community,” Martin added.

Sing! is thrilled to kick off spring with a Santa Barbara Symphony Youth Ensembles collaboration,” said Erin McKibben, Music Academy of the West Sing! Program Director. “As part of the Music Academy’s mission, we bring youth voices from many cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds together to create something larger than themselves, fostering a lifelong love for listening to and making music,” she added.

“I’m delighted to see the Santa Barbara Youth Symphony joining forces once again with the Westmont College Choir. It’s rare for youth symphonies to be able to perform with a choir, much less a standard repertoire oratorio such as Mendelssohn’s Elijah. I hope it will be an unforgettable experience for them. In turn, the Westmont College Choir exists for community engagement and fostering artistic partnerships. It’s a perfect match, and I’m grateful to be a part of it!” said Daniel Gee, Youth Symphony Music Director and Westmont Director of Choral Activities.

About the Music Academy of the West Sing! Children’s Chorus
Sing! is the Music Academy of the West’s free, after-school children’s choral program available to Santa Barbara County students grades 1 to 9. The program currently numbers nearly 300 participants from over 40 area schools. Sing! performance opportunities include concerts and collaborations with world-renowned artists and performing arts organizations, including the London Symphony Orchestra, CAMA, State Street Ballet, Santa Barbara’s Old Spanish Days, mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato, and in the Music Academy’s Summer Festival opera productions of Puccini’s La bohème, Ravel’s L’enfant et les Sortilèges, and Bizet’s Carmen. Sing! is generously supported by lead sponsors Mercedes Millington and John C. Mithun, and Montecito Bank and Trust. Special thank you to Sing! Concert Sponsor: Susan Berger.  For more information, visit

About the Westmont College Choir

The Westmont College Choir has served as the flagship ensemble of the campus since its founding in 1937. Directed by Dr. Daniel Gee, the ensemble studies and performs a wide range of literature including the classic repertoire of the past five centuries, along with spirituals, folk-song arrangements and music of other cultures. Many choir members are working toward a first degree in music and will go on to study and perform at the highest levels, while others study music in addition to pursuing degrees in science or humanities. The College Choir has maintained a robust and successful international touring schedule including performances in Lithuania, Russia, Costa Rica, the United Kingdom, and Japan.

About The Santa Barbara Symphony Youth Ensembles Program
More than 100 student musicians in grades 3rd through 12th learn to collaborate, lead, and progress on their instruments through The Symphony’s Youth Ensembles program. Students and families report increased academic engagement, improved social skills, and a newfound sense of accomplishment. They receive weekly rehearsals and three opportunities to perform together publicly. As part of their curriculum, students also attend performances by The Santa Barbara Symphony.

The Symphony’s Camerata Ensemble, led by conductor Marisa McLeod, is composed of musicians who are early in their musical training. It introduces students to the basics of ensemble playing, following a conductor, and listening across a musical group while playing. 

The Philharmonia Orchestra, also led by conductor Marisa McLeod, is the second of three levels in the Symphony’s Youth Ensembles’ hierarchy and is designed to hone the technical skills and student musicianship required for the advanced challenges of the Youth Symphony.

The Santa Barbara Youth Symphony brings together gifted young musicians from Santa Barbara and Ventura counties to perform works across the orchestral repertoire. Directed by conductor Dr. Daniel Gee, this advanced ensemble is the culminating step in the Santa Barbara Symphony’s Youth Ensembles program and instills the discipline and commitment that budding young professionals need for the next step in their careers, whether in music or another field.

Thank you to The Symphony’s Camerata & Philharmonia Concert Sponsor: Susan Berger.

 Applications for the upcoming 2024-2025 Santa Barbara Symphony Youth Ensembles season are now being accepted for all three levels, and the priority deadline is June 2, 2024. One year of experience playing an instrument and the ability to read music is required. Auditions will begin on June 15-16. For more information, go to

Note: Tickets for the final performance of The Santa Barbara Symphony’s 2023/2024 Season, Rhapsody in Blue @ 100: Jazz Comes to The Symphony on May 18 & 19, 2024, are on sale now and can be purchased in-person, online, or by calling the Granada Theatre box office at (805) 899-2222 or visiting

About The Santa Barbara Symphony

Now in its 71st year, The Santa Barbara Symphony delivers artistic excellence, outstanding music education stewardship and programming, and community collaboration – all through symphonic music. Under the artistic leadership of Maestro Nir Kabaretti as Music & Artistic Director since 2006, The Symphony is one of the region’s premier cultural institutions. Through his charismatic leadership, this globally admired conductor and Santa Barbara resident invigorates audiences and musicians alike through his passion, creativity, and vast experience. As the only music education program tied to a professional symphony orchestra in the region, The Symphony serves more than 4,000 students annually throughout Santa Barbara County. While The Symphony continues to evolve, bringing joy, engagement, and connection remain steadfast pillars of its mission and were evident in the organization’s ability to thrive during the pandemic including the historic announcement that board chair Janet Garufis and President & CEO Kathryn R Martin join Nir Kabaretti in making a five-year commitment to serve in their roles. For more information, visit

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