Newcastle Elementary student performs with youth orchestra
November 4, 2008
By Laura Geggel
Eight-year-old Adam Burggraaf has played the viola for half of his life. When his family lived in Denver, Adam had access to a few ensemble opportunities, but the Newcastle Elementary School student hasn’t found a local orchestra he can play with since his family moved to Renton last year.
The Burggraafs are not alone. Students across the Eastside are taking up stringed instruments and looking for a musical venue closer to home. The demand for a local youth symphony has encouraged the Bellevue Youth Symphony Orchestra to begin a new group in Issaquah.
“I was very excited, because we’ve been researching for a year orchestras he could be in,” said Carol Burggraaf, Adam’s mother. “There’s one in Maple Valley on Monday nights and one in Renton on Mondays. When they finally got one that was on Saturday morning, I rejoiced.”
The group, Debut-East Orchestra meets from 9-10:45 a.m. Saturdays in the practice room at Hammond Ashley Violins in Issaquah.
“A number of things came together all in one smack,” said Ruth Brewster, Bellevue Youth Symphony Orchestra executive director. “The people in the Issaquah area, the southern part of Sammamish and Snoqualmie Ridge were thinking, ‘Gas prices are getting higher and my kids are little. I don’t want to drive them far.’”
When Bryce Van Parys, general manager at Hammond Ashley, offered the Issaquah store as a practice location, Brewster said she didn’t have to think twice.
The Debut-East Orchestra will complement the Debut-West Orchestra, which practices at Bellevue’s Sammamish High School Monday evenings, September through May. Issaquah cello teacher Valerie Doerrfeld will conduct both ensembles with a handful of music coaches in tow.
Burggraaf said she was “extremely excited” for the Debut-East opportunity. She already drives Adam 20 minutes to Issaquah for private lessons.
“Issaquah is a great place to choose,” she said.
Van Parys said interest in music has shifted to the Eastside as more affluent families have settled in the area.
“People expect the infrastructure to be here,” he said. “When I grew up, you had to go to Seattle if you wanted to get a quality musical education. Now, they are coming here.”
If you go
Bellevue Youth Symphony Orchestra showcase
- 3:30 and 6:30 p.m. Nov. 23
- Newport High School
- 4333 Factoria Blvd. S.E.
- $10 for adults; $8 for seniors and students