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.
Don Adkins returns as music director in 2023, with Göran Berg as strings director and Robert Huntington as winds director. Auditions will be on May 13 and 20; rehearsals are on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7 to 9:30 pm. from June 20 through July 25 (but no rehearsal on July 4), with a dress rehearsal on Friday July 28 from 6 to 9 p.m. A free public concert on the evening of Saturday July 29 will be presented at 7 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church, 4th & L Streets, Livermore.
Registration forms for summer 2023, with a hold harmless agreement and a $20 registration fee, are due by April 24. Tuition is $200, with scholarships available and a family discount. High-school graduates (by first rehearsal) and above are welcome at no tuition.
Bothwell Arts Center: 2466 8th Street (between G and H Streets), Livermore
First Presbyterian Church: 4th & L Streets (officially 2020 Fifth Street), Livermore
Music Director 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. 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 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 most recently conducted The Nutcracker for the Valley Dance Theatre in 2021 in Livermore. In addition, he orchestrated a musical version of It’s a Wonderful Life which was premiered in 2015, and he also has served as the pianist for concerts sponsored by the Santa Cruz Chamber Players.
Strings Director Göran 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 many 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 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.
Winds Director Robert Huntington
A music teacher experienced in working with junior high and high school students and an award-winning composer, Robert Huntington joins LASYO in 2023. He is the director of music at Mendenhall Middle School in Livermore, where he conducts the choir, orchestras, and bands. Huntington has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music from the University of the Pacific. His undergraduate degree concentrated on music composition and his graduate degree focused on music education. He currently plays tuba in both the Pleasanton Community Concert Band and the 209 Brass Quintet.
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Performances and Personnel, 2009 to 2022
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. Berg and Don Adkins were codirectors from 2016 through 2021. Jed da Roza joined them as assistant director in 2018 and 2019, and Sammie Flanzbaum joined as winds and percussion director in 2021 and 2022, assisted in 2022 by Lieven Smart.
The concert on July 23, 2022, included music by Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Khachaturian, Hérold, and Robert Smith; see the concert program. 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.
(LASYO for 2020 was cancelled because of the Covid-19 pandemic.) 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.
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 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.
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.