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Young Mariposans: Start Composing

MARIPOSA COUNTY – Who hasn’t daydreamed of writing music – at the most humble level, of writing a pop song (perhaps) for a singer and a small band? Or for the more ambitious, a brief piece for stringed instruments or small chamber group? Or for the truly huge dreamers: of writing a work of true, full-blown orchestral art and having it performed by a full symphony orchestra?

For the past many years, the Mariposa Symphony Orchestra’s “Young Master Composers Celebration” has been making that last dream come true for many, many young Mariposans.

The Mariposa County Arts Council Inc and the Mariposa Symphony Orchestra has announced the opening of their “Young Master Composers Celebration” for 2014. The celebration is an annual competition in which Mariposa County residents aged 8 – 18 are challenged by the MSO’s Founding Music Director/Conductor Les Marsden to compose their very own “classical” music.

One winning young composer is selected in each of three age categories and those three Mariposans will each be awarded $50 and the opportunity to hear their own music, performed live in concert by the Mariposa Symphony Orchestra, which now numbers over 60 musicians.

The “Young Master Composers Celebration” presents a different set of mandatory criteria every year. 2014’s theme is “Back to Basics: Sonata Form is EASY to grasp!” The contest’s guidelines explain this most basic, most important form of “serious” or “art” music and make it easy for students with a basic understanding of music reading to attempt their very own “classical” masterpiece.

Marsden’s goal is not only to engage Mariposa County youth in the great tradition and world of classical music by making it very accessible, clear and enjoyable, but to educate at the same time.

Marsden adjudicates all entries and selects those which best meet the criteria for each year’s contest. He then orchestrates the winning compositions, which will be performed this year in their world premieres at the July 5 “Independence Day Spectacular!” concert of the MSO at the Amphitheatre at Mariposa County Park.

Entry forms and full guidelines for 2014 are now available at the office of the Mariposa County Arts Council at 5009 Highway 140 in Mariposa (top floor of Chocolate Soup.) MCACI’s office may be reached at (209) 966-3155.

More information is available by visiting the Mariposa County Arts Council’s website at http://www.mariposaartscouncil.org where links to the guidelines and entry forms are available by direct download. All entries are due by 4 p.m. on Friday, June 6, in the Arts Council’s office.

The chance to hear one’s very own music performed by a full symphony orchestra, in total orchestral splendor? It’s an opportunity not many children have, and an almost unheard-of one for a county as small in population as Mariposa. So spread the word, sharpen the pencils: and let the imagination soar.

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