When youngsters from throughout Miami-Dade and Broward counties signed up for the 22nd annual South Florida Youth Symphony Summer Music Academy at the Miami Dade College North Campus, they were expecting an opportunity to learn from some of the top music instructors in the area.
They got that — and much more.
The National Youth Orchestra of Uruguay (known as SODRE), one of the top youth music organizations in the world, recently visited the summer music camp to work with the campers — mostly elementary and middle schoolers beginning their music education — and perform a special concert for them.
At the end to their unique day, the summer campers joined SODRE to perform three pieces.
“All you had to do was look at the expressions on the faces of our young musicians to see what a wonderful experience it was for them,” said Rick Zogaib, associate conductor of the South Florida Youth Symphony. “Being able to learn from these outstanding musicians — and then hear them (and then perform with them) in concert — was a once–in-a-lifetime experience they’ll never forget.”
SODRE’s visit with the summer campers was the final stop on a tour, which included four days in Cuba and a concert the night before at Miami’s Olympia Theater.
“Thank you very much for receiving us,” said SODRE director Claudia Rieiro. “It was a very nice experience for our members.”
Under the direction of renown Maestro Ariel Britos, the Uruguayans, ages 17-24, arrived at the summer camp and immediately broke into groups, working with beginners as well as more experienced young musicians.
“It was amazing,” said Ryan Felix, 8, a third grader at Miami Union Academy who had only been playing the violin a few weeks.
“They kept showing me cool stuff I never knew.”
The visit by SODRE was part of what the South Florida Youth Symphony (SFYS.net) hopes will be a cultural exchange program, with the Gold-Medal winning SFYS expected to visit Uruguay early in 2020.