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Future musicians?

VAIL-Thursday will be a one-day opportunity to see, for free, the potential Bravo headliners of the future.

Annually, the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival features performances by young classical musicians. This year, both First Notes Summer Camp, which is composed of Avon Elementary School students, and the National Repertory Orchestra, a youth orchestra based in Breckenridge, will be playing Thursday morning. First Notes’ 20-25 fourth and fifth graders will perform at the front gates of the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater from 10 a.m. to 10:50 a.m. The National Repertory Orchestra will begin at 11:00 a.m. in the amphitheater.

“This will be a wonderful opportunity to witness the progress these young students have made over the course of the past school year,” said Susie Davis, vice president of education at the Vail Valley Foundation. “First Notes is a tremendous program that is truly making a difference in the lives of our young people.”

First Notes was launched in the fall of 2009 at Avon Elementary School as an after-school music program for second graders. The First Notes Summer Camp was free to incoming fourth and fifth graders that participated in the music education program during the 2011-2012 school year.

First Notes aims to expand into other schools around the Vail Valley and broaden their reach to include first- through fifth-grade students in the next three years. In this upcoming school year, Homestake Peak School is introducing a First Notes chapter in conjunction with the Vail Valley Foundation’s after-school PwrHrs program.

This program is based on the El Sistema’s program, which was developed 33 years ago by Venezuelan pianist Dr. Jose Antonio Abreu. In a parking garage in Caracas, Abreu first used ensemble music to dramatically change the life trajectory of a nation’s poorest children. Unlike regular elementary music class with choir and recorder ensembles, El Sistema puts woodwind, string and percussion instruments into children’s hands. Today the program now teaches music to 300,000 Venezuelan children, and 100 students in Avon.

“The learning process of music in children not only enriches their spiritual and emotional experiences, but also accelerates their learning capacity in other subjects in school,” said First Notes’ El Sistema advisor Dani Bedoni. “Giving children the opportunity to explore the magic of music will create better human beings and a society filled with virtue.”

On Thursday, the ensemble will be performing compositions including “Ode to Joy,” “The Mexican Hat Dance,” and “Frere Jacques.”

Older than the Avon Elementary musicians, the National Repertoire Orchestra is the feature performance. Its program is entitled “Olympic Inspiration, with selections including John Williams’ “The Olympic Spirit,” which was the theme for the 1988 Seoul Olympics and Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus.”

Twelve-year-old Oliver Neubauer will be conducting the orchestra for the Hallelujah Chorus.

Those in attendance Thursday could be listening to future Bravo orchestra members.

Several of El Sistema’s graduates now rank amongst the most coveted young talent in Europe, include conductor Gustavo Dudamel and double base player Edicson Ruiz, who at the age of 17 became the youngest musician ever to join the Berlin Philharmonic.

Oliver Neubauer is the son of Paul Neubauer, who performs as concerto soloist across the globe and performed at Bravo’s Big Music for Little Bands concert at the Vilar Performing Arts Center Monday night.

Intern Stephen Kasica can be reached at 970-777-3190 and followed on Twitter: @stephenkasica.