Classical to rock -- young musicians onstage | February 8, 2013 | Pleasanton Weekly | |

Pleasanton Weekly

Arts & Entertainment - February 8, 2013

Classical to rock -- young musicians onstage

Annual festival concert is performed, produced and directed by students

by Dolores Fox Ciardelli

The Firehouse Arts Center is hosting the 11th annual Youth Music Festival concert next Friday with musicians ages 8 to 18 whose styles run the gamut from classical to rock.

Schools represented include both high schools in Pleasanton, plus Dublin, Livermore, San Ramon and Oakland School for the Arts and Bishop O'Dowd High School. The selection process began in November, and the web-based video submissions were reviewed by the selection committee.

The festival was started 11 years ago for young musicians in the area to share their love of music in a supportive and non-competitive way.

It was during a time where "battle of the band" type events were everywhere and the festival was an alternative to the heavy competitive environment young musicians were experiencing, said Mark Duncanson, a Pleasanton recreation program specialist who is founder and coordinator of the Youth Music Festival.

Duncanson and his team still mentor the students who produce and direct the music concerts, which gives them the chance to learn all the phases of creating and delivering a multi-faceted show. This is important, Duncanson said.

"The festival engages young performers in collaborating with one another," he said. "At each rehearsal the young musicians are encouraged to be inspired by each other and come up with different ways to collaborate."

"The festival also gives youth a chance to present music on their terms," he added.

This year the Youth Music Festival has three young producers assisting in directing the show: Francesca O'Neil, Claire Wagner and Eric Butler.

"Having youth producers has been an essential part of maintaining the youth-to-youth arts vibe," Duncanson said.

The show begins at 7:30 p.m., Friday, Feb. 15, at the Firehouse Arts Center, 4444 Railroad Ave. Tickets can be purchased at the door for $12, or in advance for $8, online at, by calling 931-4848, or at the box office.


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