Over the next month we will be sharing a series of beautiful and inspirational stories about ACG community and education projects that happened in the spring! If you’re curious to see more of our past projects please check out our ACG Productions page and our previous Blogs!

Being completely virtual this past year brought us unexpected things to be grateful for. Particularly special was our ability to expand our Youth and Community Ensembles to areas beyond Austin! 

ACG Youth and Community Ensembles are a place to experience the joy of making music with others. We are so grateful that we could still build connections with our community through music, despite the obstacles we faced this year.

We had the opportunity to speak with one of our ACG Youth Orchestra members, Catalina Galvan, about her experience being part of a virtual ensemble this spring. 

Catalina is from a rural part of Texas about five hours away from Austin! She learned about ACGYO online and was able to participate regardless of her distance! 

Catalina shared, 

“My experience this Spring was one like no-other. I have never had the opportunity to collaborate with such a diverse group of people and work on a beautiful piece to make it our own, until I joined the ACGYO. The pandemic actually impacted my experience favorably because the ACGYO going virtual gave me the ability to take advantage of all of the wonderful opportunities ACG has to offer.”

This semester the ACGYO took part in multiple projects including GIVE and Cassie Shankman’s “Hello, I just wanted to see how you are doing?”

Catalina shared,

“The GIVE project taught me a valuable lesson: that music, though seemingly small and simple, can have a huge impact on those around us and can be used as a way to give back to those in our life and tell them how meaningful they are to us when words can’t. It was truly phenomenal.

I made my GIVE project for my grandma. It was a performance of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah. I made it to simply give back to all of the support and love she has given me in my study of music and basically every part of life. It’s her favorite song.” 

We asked Catalina to share her ‘behind the scenes’ experience in working with Cassie Shankman’s composition as a virtual ensemble. She shared, 

“Cassie Shankman’s “Hello, I just wanted to see how you are doing?” was my favorite piece in the repertoire because it accurately represented each one of our stories throughout the past year and allowed us to weave all of that together into one amazing work.

Working on Cassie’s composition was a great experience, not only for me but the whole group! Joe would consistently send us to small breakout rooms of two or three during rehearsals and we were able to use that time to share variations of Cassie’s piece that we came up with to be inspired and to collaborate with what we were sharing. We also discussed video ideas and were able to collaborate on how we could represent the visual aesthetic of the piece. We all had completely different interpretations and feelings for the piece and we worked hard to blend them all together into something amazing.”

We are so thrilled and thankful for the opportunity to expand our services in such a remarkable way! We are so excited to continue our online reach in the future, even as we begin to feel safer to connect in person, in order to continuously expand, inspire, and connect through music despite distance!