Grass Valley, Calif. – Noted great composers such as Rachmaninoff and Debussy learned from the achievements of others. That is exactly what the eleven young composers enrolled in InConcert Sierra’s “Composers Project” are getting to do.

On Sunday, February 5, the eleven young composers, ranging in age from 13 to 19, will have their new compositions expertly performed by professional musicians in front of a live audience.

The first semester’s concert “Poetry in Song” features creative new works for voice and one instrument using a poem of the student’s choice that they have set to music. Composers Project instructor Mark Vance has students select a poem, analyze the text and identify a natural musical rhythm that is then set to music.

Building upon the importance of learning from the achievements of others, the students were treated to lessons by local professional musicians and teachers. Enriching the course even more, ICS brings renowned artists from the world stage to the classroom. This past semester, the class experienced two master classes from famed cellist Amit Peled, and from Kory Reid, countertenor and Education Manager from the preeminent vocal group, Chanticleer.

“Being a music educator and flying across the country to talk to students about singing, composing, and unconducted ensemble techniques, it’s rare when I am in a “WOW” state by a group of talented young singers or composers,” said Reid. “I was pleasantly surprised when Mark emailed me some score PDFs in preparation for the class. I was even more surprised at the dedication, the scholarship, and the skill level of composition displayed to me and it was an amazing experience being able to collaborate with them.”

Some of the poems chosen and set to music include “The Jabberwocky” by Lewis Carroll, “If” by Rudyard Kipling, “How Do I Love Thee?” by Elizabeth B. Browning, and “O’ Captain, My Captain” by Walt Whitman at the performance, each student will speak about their choices and what they learned.

Professional musicians performing the works will include pianists Ken Hardin and Lynn Schugren, and harpist Lauren Sharkey. Accomplished local singers include Christi Columbo, Micah Cone, Elizabeth Gillogly, Robbie Merchant, and Sierra Master Chorale Music Director Alison Skinner.

Designed and taught by local composer Mark Vance, the Composers Project is a nine-month series of classes and private lessons covering all aspects of music composition. Divided into two semesters, each is highlighted by a concert in which student works are premiered by professional musicians in front of a live audience.

“I can see all of them becoming very successful if they stick with it. I cherish these rewarding educational moments; it’s remarkable that ICS provides wonderful experiences and resources to their students,” said Reid.

There will be a short reception following the performance giving the audience members an opportunity to congratulate the young composers.

When:  Sunday, February 5, 2023 at 2pm

What:  Composers Project “Poetry in Song”

Where: Peace Lutheran Church, 828 W. Main Street, Grass Valley

Tickets: $20 general, free to youth 18 and under

Available at call 530-273-3990