New Orleans Youth Orchestra to Play Williamsburg Concert for Haiti is your source for free news and information in Williamsburg, James City & York Counties.

Many of the members of the Youth Orchestra have turned to music to reinvigorate their city in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
Many of the members of the Youth Orchestra have turned to music to reinvigorate their city in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Courtesy of the Greater New Orleans Youth Orchestras.

The Greater New Orleans Youth Orchestra is embarking on an East Coast tour culminating in a performance at the famous Carnegie Hall in New York City, and Williamsburg has the privilege of being one of four stops along the way.

The concert will take place Wednesday at St. Bede Catholic Church on Ironbound Road.

Williamsburg was included in the tour due to music director Jean Montès’ personal connections to the town, as he has played past concerts in the area.

Additionally, Montès’ feeling that New Orleans and Williamsburg share a “cultural and historical connection,” played a role in the decision to include Williamsburg on the tour.

Proceeds from the concert will go to benefit the church’s Haiti Outreach program, which provides education outreach through St. Bede’s Haitian sister parish, St. Joseph.

Highlighting this connection, the concert will feature three compositions by Haitian composer Férère Laguerre. The Youth Orchestra will also be performing pieces by classical music composer Antonin Dvořák and “up-and-coming” New Orleans composer Mike Rihner, according to a news release from the orchestra.

Montès said Rihner’s works represent “a panoramic view of the city of New Orleans.” Each of his nine New Orleans Symphonic Dances captures the spirit of a different street, neighborhood or public gathering place. The sounds of his compositions span several genres and utilize the full range of the orchestra.

This tour was formulated as both a celebration of the 20th anniversary of the orchestra’s existence and recognition of how both the orchestra and the city of New Orleans have grown and rebuilt in the ten years since Hurricane Katrina.

The celebration of the city it hails from is integral to the orchestra’s musical selections. Many of its members, of which there are around 40, are survivors of Hurricane Katrina and have relied heavily on music to help themselves and the city heal in the wake of that terrible storm.

“We use music to bring people together,” Montès said.

This concert is free and open to the public, and will take place at 7 p.m. Wednesday.


Photo Contest Spotlights Rural Settings and Objects

JCC Rural Photo ContestThe James City County Rural Economic Development Committee is taking a creative approach to thinking about rural life with its rural photography contest, which is accepting submissions now until July 15.

The contest features 10 categories of photos, including farms and working lands; rivers, waterways and farm ponds; native flora & fauna; farm animals and wildlife; farm equipment; rural recreation; rural lifestyle; rural routes; ugly produce; and tremendous timber.

“The idea behind this contest is to help remind photographers and the community of the natural beauty in James City County,” said Russell Seymour, director of the county’s Office of Economic Development.

One winner and one runner-up will be selected from each category. The winning photographs will be displayed in an as-yet-undetermined county building from September 10-12 as part of the Williamsburg Fall Arts celebration.

Seymour anticipates an enthusiastic response to this contest based on past photo contests that have garnered much interest. More than 100 photographs were submitted when the county held a “What Rural Means To Me” photo contest.

Amateur and professional photographers alike may participate in the contest, as long as each submission is original to the artist and not copyrighted. Additionally, applicants must live or work in James City County.

The committee behind the contest works to help spur businesses in the rural part of the county and to provide economic alternatives to developing rural lands.

Participants should also be aware of the size restrictions on their submissions, which require that each image be between 5 and 10 MB with a minimum of 300 DPI, or dots per inch.

Additional rules and guidelines as well as entry forms can be found here. Completed entry forms should be submitted to Winners and runners-up will be notified no later than Aug. 15.