Accessibility key to performing music through the Roaring Fork Youth Orchestra

11-year-old Kate Sanders practices with other young members of the Roaring Fork Youth Orchestra in Carbondale to prepare for this weekend's fall orchestra concert taking place on Sunday.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent

Roaring Fork Youth Orchestra is putting on a free concert Sunday in Carbondale, with an assortment of diverse music performed by students from throughout the valley. 

“We definitely encourage young musicians to come to the concert,” RFYO Executive Director and cello teaching artist, Sarah Graf, said.

RFYO’s fall concert brings together nearly 60 young musicians ages 6 to 18 from throughout the Roaring Fork Valley region to perform a diverse program of classical and traditional music. 

“It’s really a great chance for families and little kids to come here to hear their friends or other kids of all ages playing instruments, because it can be really inspiring,” Graf said. “A lot of kids have ended up joining the orchestra that way.”

That is, once they have worked on their skill and shown the dedication to be an active musician in the ensemble. 

“Learning to play an instrument requires dedication and effort, and the rewards are absolutely worth it,” said Ross Kribbs, one of the three co-music directors.

The fall concert will feature a selection of styles from classical and traditional, including pieces by Vivaldi, tunes with traditional Irish fiddles and even the RFYO Sidewalk Strings playing some of the traditional Mexican dances they performed with the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet Folklórico dancers for Día de los Muertos in Carbondale last week. 

“The Preparatory String Orchestra and our group called Musica, which are even more beginner level students, will be playing together in the first part of the concert,” Graf said.

She said that they will perform Vivaldi’s “Autumn” from Four Seasons and the “Irish Washerwoman.”

They will also perform the traditional and more classical repertoire including Dukas’ “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” which was featured in Disney’s “Fantasia.” 

Nine-year-old Abelito E. practices with other young members of the Roaring Fork Youth Orchestra in Carbondale to prepare for this weekend’s fall orchestra concert taking place on Sunday.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent

The program will include the lush and languid melody that winds its way through “The Old Boatman,” by African American composer Florence Beatrice Price, according to a new release. 

The grand finale will have all of the ensemble come together to perform an energetic piece by Gustav Holst’s Planet Suite “Jupiter.”

The program advocates accessibility for young musicians, providing students with scholarships for lessons and tuition, along with access to a growing musical instrument library. Rehearsals with the program are held after school in Aspen, Carbondale and New Castle. 

This is the first time that many students have the opportunity to play in an orchestra, Graf said.

“Creating music together adds the elements of teamwork, communication and camaraderie,” Kribbs added. “Students learn that they’ve earned a gift that they can give to others — anytime, anywhere, and forever.”

The next concert after this weekend will be during First Friday.

For more information, visit 

If you go…

What: Roaring Fork Youth Orchestra Fall Concert 

Where: Carbondale’s Third Street Center, 520 S 3rd St.

When: 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 13

How much: free and family friendly

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