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A Music Man and His Kids

March 05, 1992

To get more than 50 musicians in an orchestra to play as one is never easy. And if those 50 musicians are between the ages of 11 and 17, there may be those who would say: "Impossible." Then there is Richard Rintoul, conductor of the Glendale Youth Orchestra, who prefers working with kids.

"There's a lot to put up with," he admitted. "But once they get it, it's great." The music, that is, and the Glendale Youth Orchestra will be making it Tuesday. This is the second concert this season, and the orchestra's third.

Parents and music teachers started the orchestra in 1988 "because of a need in the area to provide an orchestral setting for junior high students," said Diana Rutledge, president of the orchestra's board. Tight budgets drastically cut music programs, especially in elementary and junior high schools.

The orchestra, which gave its first concert in 1989, was originally for sixth- through ninth-graders, but this year was opened to 10th-graders. And a few older students have been placed in the wind section simply because their more mature lungs are needed to blow the French horns and other brass.

Winning a spot on the orchestra isn't easy. At a formal audition in September, 110 students tried out. Thirty-seven were accepted.

"It's a little competitive," Rutledge said.

This is 36-year-old Rintoul's first year with the youth orchestra. A substitute violist for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, he is also a faculty member at the Idyllwild School of Music and Theatre Arts, and music director and conductor of the Colburn Chamber Orchestra at Colburn Music School, an after-school youth conservatory affiliated with USC.

His goal in Glendale is to make the Youth Orchestra first rate. "But it's not going to happen overnight," he said. "I'm a demanding more of the children than before."

Tuesday's program will include the Brandenburg Sinfonia, a simplified arrangement of Bach's Third Brandenburg Concerto. Everything else on the program, including Grieg's "Peer Gynt Suite" and Strauss's "Blue Danube Waltz," will be the same as the adults play.

"The kids have been having a lot of fun with it," Rintoul said of the rehearsals, especially when they get to "Hall of the Mountain King." Even so, Rintoul never lets them forget that "there's the discipline of bringing it to a higher level instead of just bashing through it."

The concert will start at 7:30 p.m. at the Glendale Adventist Academy, 700 Kimlin Drive, Glendale. Tickets are $3 and are available at the door.

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