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Is There A Young Mozart in Your House?

How often does an 8-year-old have the chance to hear a symphony orchestra play music dreamed up by that child? In Mariposa, the answer is once a year.

The Mariposa County Arts Council and the Mariposa Symphony Orchestra (MSO) invite Mariposa County residents between the ages of 8 and 18 to enter their annual “Young Master Composers Celebration,” but time is running out with all entries due in the Arts Council’s office by 4 p.m. on Friday, May 17.One winner in each of three age categories will be selected, and the winning entries will be orchestrated by MSO Founding Music Director and Conductor Les Marsden, who also adjudicates the contest.

MariposaSymphonyWinners are awarded $50, a certificate, a full orchestral score of all winning entries and an audio CD of the orchestrated winning compositions. And of course, the experience of hearing their very own “classical” music being played by a full orchestra, live at the MSO’s “Independence Day Spectacular!”

The concert will be presented on Saturday, July 6, in the Amphitheatre at Mariposa County Park.

“There’s nothing quite like the amazed look on the face of a child hearing his or her very own music being performed by 60 musicians, live, in front of the child’s family and friends,” says Marsden.

Guidelines, rules and required entry form for 2013’s contest topic Words and Music, are available online at Entries must follow 2013 guidelines or they may be disqualified.

Marsden and three accomplished string musicians from the Mariposa Symphony Orchestra are currently presenting assemblies at all school campuses in Mariposa County in Marsden’s annual “Welcome to Classical Music” program sponsored by the Arts Council and the MSO.

This year’s assemblies will include a 20-minute piece specially composed by Marsden for narrator and string trio, intended to introduce the violin, viola and cello to students. It will also serve as an example of composing a piece of “words and music” as required by the Young Master Composers Celebration.

Both the “Welcome to Classical Music” and “Young Master Composers Celebration” programs have been presented by Marsden for many years, exclusively in Mariposa County. Check with your school to see when the presentations will be held.

The MSO is a program of the Mariposa County Arts Council, Inc., with offices located at 5009 Highway 140 at the south entrance to downtown Mariposa (top floor of Chocolate Soup). Entries can also be mailed to MCACI-MSO, P.O. Box 2134, Mariposa 95338, and must be postmarked by May 17.

Visit the Arts Council website at call (209) 966-3155 or e-mail

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