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“If you close your eyes and listen, you will think the Valley Symphony Orchestra is playing. They are that good!” said Cate Link, talking about the South Texas Youth Symphony. Link, who is operations manager for the Valley Symphony Orchestra, said Winter Texans will have an opportunity to hear the Youth Symphony’s Christmas Concert on Sunday, Dec. 16 at 4 p.m. at the Edinburg City Auditorium, located at the intersection of 7th and McIntyre.

Link said the concert will feature Christmas favorites, both popular and classical music. The event starts off with Christmas cookies being served at 3:30 p.m. as guests arrive. The music will be under the direction of Maestro Lucas Darger.

“Students participating in the concert come from all over the Valley,” said Link. “They range in age from 12 to 18. The only time an adult will be seen in a youth concert is if a child gets sick and someone needs to play his part. Then a member of the Valley Symphony Orchestra will step in. The children who play are all excellent musicians in their own right,” added Link.

Students audition for the youth orchestra in September, and only the best musicians are selected. Participants in the youth orchestra come from Brownsville to Rio Grande City and many cities in between.

Maestro Darger said the youth in the orchestra are excellent musicians. One bass player won first place in the state orchestra. Another bass and a bassoonist also placed in the state orchestra. The majority of those in the orchestra placed at least at the regional level of competition.

“Students come together once a week on Sunday afternoons,” added Darger. “They practice music for their concerts, which has a higher level of challenge than the music they play at high school level. It’s a great way for students who are dedicated to music to meet like-minded students and to have an opportunity to play higher levels of music at the same time,” he said.

The South Texas Youth Symphony performs three concerts each year. The Halloween concert is a lot of fun because youth dress in Halloween costumes for the concert, said Link. The December concert always features Christmas music. The third concert – to be held May 12 this year – is a Mother’s day concert.

Tickets are $10 at the door for adults and $5 for senior citizens.

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