CMI Youth Program fosters teamwork, dedication for San Antonio orchestra students

SAN ANTONIO – After two weeks of intensive training, young musicians in the Classical Musical Institute 210 Festival will take the stage for a final concert.

The CMI Youth Program includes 80 orchestra students, from beginner to advanced levels, who learned from fellow musicians, teachers and visiting artists.

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It’s a program that teaches teamwork and dedication, and fosters passion for students across Bexar County, CMI spokesperson Mariana Vela said.

“There’s a beautiful connection overall, not just in the education side but also in the performance side because the teaching artist fellows and the artists also serve as models to the young students as to what they can aspire to be,” Vela said.

The CMI Youth Program includes 80 orchestra students, from beginner to advanced levels, who learned from fellow musicians, teachers and visiting artists. (Copyright 2024 by KSAT – All rights reserved.)

The Youth Program is part of the larger CMI 210 Festival that kicked off on June 13. The festival includes concerts and events featuring orchestra and vocals at different venues across the region.

The summer program started in 2016 but developed into the CMI 210 Festival, which had its inaugural year in 2023. The program sees an increase in students every year, she said.

The CMI Youth Program is open to all students from 8 to 18 years old, and 12 local school districts are represented this year. Vela said the majority of the students in the program attend the Edgewood Independent School District.

The students spent the last two weeks rehearsing at the Edgewood Theatre of Performing Arts on San Antonio’s West Side.

Vela said this provides unique classical music education for students who otherwise may not have the chance for additional training.

“The overall point is for there to be a spark of curiosity, to go out into the world and seek whatever they want to be more than what they think they could have been,” Vela said.

The program exposes kids to other cultures and experiences, as some teachers visit from other countries. By rehearsing with others, Vela said the students feel a sense of community and learn how to work together.

Vela said these students will be able to use these skills in all aspects of life.

“What we see every summer with these students is first, their dedication … we love seeing the dedication these students bring in continuation of their own education, aside from their school,” Vela said. “What we see is that music and the arts, that’s the power and the effect of that — it inspires kids to come out and to continue to train.”

The CMI Youth Program’s concert will take place at 6 p.m. on Friday at the Edgewood Theatre of Performing Arts, 402 Lance St.

The CMI 210 Festival will culminate with the finale at 7 p.m. on Saturday at the Tobin Center’s Carlos Alvarez Studio Theater.

The finale will include performances from CMI participants and OPERA San Antonio singers. The event is free and open to the public.

Applications for next year’s CMI Youth Program will open in April.

Parents and kids ages 8-11 interested in year-round training can click here for more information about CMI’s Ascend program. Ascend is an after-school program that’s free for students.

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