In April 2021, Music in the Mountains (MIM) will host two virtual youth concerts: The Young Musicians Competition Showcase and The Music in the Mountains Youth Orchestra concert.  

Young Musicians Competition Showcase

In March 2021, Music in the Mountains and Rotary Clubs of Western Nevada County held their first joint Young Musicians Competition. The organizations have nearly 50-years of experience in youth contests between them and had planned to combine their experience for this competition in 2020; however, due to the pandemic, the first joint competition was postponed. For the 2021 competition, talented young musicians submitted their performances via video & professional musicians scored the performances and selected the winners. Winners will be announced during the April 9th virtual concert premiering at 7pm, on the Music in the Mountains YouTube channel, which will feature the top twelve competition videos.

“We are so fortunate to live in a community where partnerships like the one we have with Rotary can happen,” said MIM Executive Director Jenny Darlington-Person. “Thanks to the effort both groups put into creating a new path forward, students were able to continue improving their skills even during the pandemic.”

During the virtual showcase, the overall winner will be granted the MIM Paul Perry Award in honor and memory of MIM’s founding Artistic Director. This prize was open to all competitors. The showcase will feature 14 of this year’s competitors including the first, second, & third prize winners in the junior and high school divisions, the Rotary Prize winner, and several honorable mentions. The Rotary Prize winner is the top entry from a Western Nevada County high school. The Rotary winner will advance to the Rotary District Competition, where the top prizes are $1000, $500, and $250.

The showcase will premiere at at 7:00 PM on Friday. April 9th, and will be available through the weekend to view.

Spotlight on a Past Winner

Several of our local young musicians have competed for both organizations in the past. One is Sage Po, who fell in love with the harp at age eight and studied locally with Lisa Stine. She went on to win the Rotary District Competition first prize of $1000. Now with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Harp Performance and a Certificate in Music Education from Carnegie Mellon University and graduate study, she has played with numerous orchestras around the U.S. and regularly performs with Music in the Mountains and InConcert Sierra. She is currently a concert artist, chamber musician, and music educator. MIM and Rotary are proud to have offered Po these competition opportunities early in her musical career and the organizations look forward to encouraging the next generation of young musicians.

MIM Youth Orchestra Concert

         When the pandemic started in March 2020, the MIM Youth Orchestra (MIMYO) quickly adapted to learning and making music via online conferencing software. Conductor Richard Altenbach has fearlessly led the group through a year of online and hybrid music learning, culminating in the fourth and final virtual youth concert on Friday, April 23 at 7:00 PM at

         The program will include classical ensemble favorites from Bach, Beethoven, and Bizet, as well as solos by several students and a faculty solo with Assistant Conductor, Shannon Devir. The multimedia extravaganza will also include student artwork inspired by the music. Perhaps most exciting, an orchestra piece by Young Composer, James Thomas-Rose will also be debuted.

         Rehearsing online for nearly a year was a challenge, but worth the effort. Speaking about the first live outdoor rehearsal, Assistant Conductor Shannon Devir said, “I wish you could have seen the smiles on the kid’s faces as they arrived on their first day back.  They were so excited to be there, to see each other, and to make music together.” 

The public is invited to enjoy these tributes to our community’s young musicians by joining us for these two free virtual concerts. For more information, go to or call the Music in the Mountains box office at 530-265-6124.