LAS Youth Orchestra

We are so happy about the 2021 season of the Livermore-Amador Symphony Youth Orchestra! Last year, LASYO was cancelled because of the pandemic; in an exciting contrast, more than 50 students registered for 2021, and the concert on July 31 was excellent. And we now have an outstanding winds and percussion director!

General Information

LASYO, a summer orchestra established by the Symphony Association, is open to musicians ages 11 (or in 6th grade) through 21 who play violin, viola, cello, string bass, flute, piccolo, oboe, English horn, clarinet, bassoon, horn, trumpet, trombone, tuba, harp, timpani, or percussion.

For 2021, Göran Berg and Don Adkins returned as music directors, with a newly added winds and percussion director, Sammie Flanzbaum. Auditions were in May; rehearsals were on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7 to 9:30 pm. from June 22 through late July, with a dress rehearsal on July 30 and a public concert on July 31.

Registration forms for summer 2021, with a hold harmless agreement, were due by May 1. Tuition was $200, with scholarships available and a family discount. High-school graduates (by first rehearsal) and above were welcome at no tuition. There was a $50 discount for players who registered for the cancelled 2020 season of LASYO.

Dates and registration details for 2022 will be available in early spring.

Contact and Addresses

Program coordinator: Betsy Hausburg—

Bothwell Arts Center: 2466 8th Street (between G and H Streets), Livermore

First Presbyterian Church: 4th & L Streets (officially 2020 Fifth Street), Livermore

Music Directors Don Adkins and Göran Berg

Don Adkins Don Adkins is a music educator, conductor, performer, composer, and church musician in the Santa Cruz area. He first moved to California to become the conductor of the Santa Cruz County Youth Symphony for five years. He teaches music classes at Cabrillo College, where he conducts the Cabrillo College Orchestra. Dr. Adkins received his doctorate in orchestral conducting from the University of Missouri—Kansas City. He writes program notes and gives preconcert lectures for the Santa Cruz Symphony. The Cabrillo College Theater Department’s musicals have been directed by Dr. Adkins for a number of years. He often appears as piano accompanist for various solos and ensembles and occasionally plays bass in the Santa Cruz area. He has provided orchestrations for the Valley Dance Theatre in Livermore and orchestrated a new musical version of It’s a Wonderful Life which was premiered in 2015. One of his recent performances was as the pianist for concerts sponsored by the Santa Cruz Chamber Players.

Goran Berg Göran Berg holds a bachelor’s degree in violin pedagogy from the Royal Swedish Music Academy at Stockholm University and a master’s degree in music performance and Suzuki pedagogy from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. With over 35 years of music teaching experience, he conducts parent and teacher training classes throughout the United States and Europe. Berg teaches violin and viola, conducts orchestra, and coaches chamber music. He is creator and director of the Suzuki program at the Crowden Music Center in Berkeley, and he is the owner and artistic director of the Sycamore Strings Academy in Livermore.

Berg utilizes ethnic music like fiddle tunes from different parts of the world in his teaching as a complement to classical instrumental studies. He writes original arrangements of Scandinavian fiddle music for violins and for orchestra/string quartet; his “Fiddle Heart” series of books and CDs are used by educators internationally. He has also published string arrangements—Eclectic Strings, Book 1, and Violins Go Vivaldi. For more information, visit the Sycamore Strings Academy website.

Winds and Percussion Director Sammie Flanzbaum
New to LASYO in 2021!

We are excited to introduce Samantha Flanzbaum as the inaugural LASYO winds and percussion director. Flanzbaum is known as an inspiring teacher. She was a middle school band director in Rio Rico, Arizona, followed by work in the East Bay Area, first in Concord and now in Pleasant Hill. In Concord, she was an elementary school instrumental music teacher, a middle school teacher, and also the Ygnacio Valley High School marching band director. She now works at Pleasant Hill Middle School, where she teaches beginning, intermediate, and advanced band and orchestra; music appreciation; and jazz band. After graduation from Pleasanton’s Amador Valley High School, Flanzbaum earned her bachelor’s degree in Music Education at the University of Arizona. Her major instrument in college was trumpet, and she has been a private trumpet teacher for more than ten years.

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Performances and Personnel

Betsy Hausburg has served as LASYO program coordinator since the youth orchestra’s first summer, 2009. Göran Berg and Bob Williams were the conductors that year, when LASYO’s first season culminated with a concert on August 1 at the First Presbyterian Church in Livermore. From 2010 through 2015, Berg and Kathy Boster were codirectors of LASYO. Since 2016, Berg and Don Adkins have been codirectors. Jed da Roza joined them as assistant director in 2018 and 2019, and Sammie Flanzbaum joined as winds and percussion director in 2021.

youth orchestra concert on 7/31/21

The 2021 concert was on July 31  and featured the first movement of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6, “Fratres” by Arvo Pärt with concertmaster Isaiah Iny-Woods as violin soloist, “Arabian Dances” by Brian Balmages, and more. The concert ended with Mayhew Lake’s “The Roosters Lay Eggs in Kansas” with the audience plus the LASYO musicians singing along! See the 2021 concert program.

The 2019 LASYO concert, on August 3, included pieces by Bizet, Debussy, Mozart, Sibelius — and Led Zeppelin. See the 2019 concert program. The 2018 LASYO concert was on the evening of August 4. See the 2018 concert program.

LAS youth orchestra concert

The 2017 LAS Youth Orchestra, led by Don Adkins and Göran Berg.

The 2017 season of LASYO culminated with a free public performance on July 22 at the First Presbyterian Church of Livermore. Repertoire included pieces by Beethoven, Bizet, Haydn, McLean, Piazzolla, and Shostakovich. See the 2017 concert program, and read an article by Carol Graham published on 7/20/17 in the Independent newspaper.

The 2016 LASYO concert was on August 6; see the 2016 LASYO concert program. The 2015 LASYO concert was on Saturday August 8 in Livermore. See videos of the concert, and see the 2015 concert program. Watch videos of the August 9, 2014, LASYO concert on YouTube; and read the 2014 concert program. See the August 10, 2013, concert program and the August 11, 2012, concert program.

The 2011 concert took place on Saturday August 6 and included the “Saturday Night Waltz” and “Hoedown” from Copland’s Rodeo (video, 5:09 minutes long); scene number 1 from Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake (video, 3:23 min.); Barber’s “Adagio for Strings” (video, 8:39 min.); waltz number 2 from Shostakovich’s suite for variety orchestra (video, 4:13 min.); and Elgar’s “Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1” (video with acknowledgements, encore, and orchestra list, 12:56 min.). Read the 2011 concert program. some LASYO violas and cellos 2015

The 2010 LASYO concert was on Saturday July 31. See the 2010 concert program, and have a look at several of the concert pieces on YouTube: The “Radetzky March” by Strauss was conducted by Kathy Boster, and “Andante Festivo” by Sibelius was conducted by Göran Berg. The concert concluded with “Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1” by Elgar and conducted by Berg; it featured Janet Holmes playing the church’s Casavant Frères pipe organ.

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photos © Alan Frank, 8/8/15 and 7/22/17
website © Livermore-Amador Symphony Association