Pasadena Young Musicians Orchestra to present an “American Musical Salute”

A patriotic concert for a patriotic season – the Pasadena Young Musicians Orchestra presents American Musical Salute on Sunday, February 26, 2012 at 3:30 p.m. at Sexson Auditorium on the campus of Pasadena City College (PCC) in Pasadena… but the soloist could use a new flute! PYMO’s Principle Flutist Luis Alvarado appears as guest soloist.

Fans of the Pasadena Young Musicians Orchestra (PYMO) are nothing if not well traveled musically. The 2011-12 season opened last November, for instance, with The French Connection, a program of music composed by French musicians or inspired by France. But for its second concert, PYMO has opted to stay a bit closer to home by presenting an American Musical Salute.

To focus on music by American composers seems only fitting, since this time of year is when we celebrate holidays like Martin Luther King Day and Presidents Day,” says Music Director Jo Raquel Stoup. “Best of all, the pieces are so very exciting – both for the musicians to learn and play and for the audience to hear. They’re extraordinarily lovely, too – masterpieces that have more than earned their prominent place in American literature.”

The program for  “American Musical Salute” includes Billy the Kid and ‘Variations on a Shaker Tune’ from Appalachian Spring by Aaron Copland; Samuel Barber’s Second Essay; and American Salute by Morton Gould. 

PYMO will also perform Poem for Flute and Orchestra by Charles Griffes, featuring PYMO’s Principle Flautist Luis Alvarado.

Billy the Kid is one of Copland’s most popular compositions,” explains Stoup who, as a young professional flautist, performed under the composer. “I personally love how it incorporates many cowboy tunes and American folk songs.”

Barber’s Second Essay, meanwhile, is a difficult work that Stoup has long yearned for the orchestra to perform. “It became apparent very early this year that, at last, the time had arrived. PYMO was more than ready for the challenge. We really pull it off,” Stoup reveals with a smile.

Audiences will no doubt recognize sections of Gould’s American Salute. Based on the song ‘When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again,’ American Salute includes in its history one bittersweet chapter. Morten Gould actually heard the piece on the last evening of his life – appropriately enough, at a performance of the United States Military Academy Concert Band.

Stoup, a renowned soloist who has worked with musicians from Henry Mancini to Luciano Pavarotti, describes Griffes’ Poem for Flute and Orchestra as “one of the most beautiful flute solos in the classical repertoire.”

Griffes is the most acclaimed American representative of musical Impressionism,” Stoup continues. “The striking and enigmatic new sound created by French Impressionist composers fascinated and inspired him.”

Stoup has high praise as well for the young musician who will interpret Griffes’ work – flautist Luis Alvarado, a student at PCC. “Luis is very dedicated, very musical,” says Stoup, who currently not only mentors Alvarado but is leading efforts to secure funding that will enable the financially strapped music major to purchase a more professional, higher quality instrument.

“The sound Luis creates from what is basically a student flute amazes me,” Stoup reflects. “But, oh the music he could make on an instrument more equal to his talent!”


American Musical Salute

Pasadena Young Musicians Orchestra

Sexson Auditorium,

on the campus of Pasadena City College (PCC)

1570 East Colorado Blvd.,

Pasadena CA

Parking available at any PCC student lot for $2.


Sunday, February 26, 2012 at 3:30 p.m.


Suggested donation price of $7.00 for adults

$5.00 for students and seniors.

Booking and info:

For more information about PYMO or its upcoming performances, call (626) 403-1086 or visit the orchestra’s website.



About Pasadena Young Musicians Orchestra:

The Pasadena Young Musicians Orchestra (PYMO) celebrates over 50 years of performances. The institution has provided musical training for gifted young instrumentalists of high school and junior college age. Orchestra members represent 32 different schools, and come from diverse economic and ethnic backgrounds. They all come together to work towards one common goal: to learn how to play in a symphony orchestra.

PYMO rehearses and performs at Pasadena City College, where conductor, Jo Raquel Stoup, is a faculty member, conducting orchestra and chamber groups. PYMO has performed twice in Hawaii and has also played at the Music Educators’ Convention. The Wilshire Ebell theatre in Los Angeles has hosted them, as well as, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.  

All members must belong to a performance group at their school, making PYMO an extension of their school music program. PYMO rehearses once a week and performs three different concerts each year in addition to its music tour.

PYMO is operated by the PYMO Association, a non-profit organization dependent on a network of volunteers and donors, including parents, friends, and area businesses. PYMO is particularly grateful for the many benefits derived from its’ close association with Pasadena City College, the Pasadena Symphony Association, and the many high schools in the area.


Luis Alvarado, flute

Born in Whittier, CA and raised in the city of Rosemead; Luis has always had a passion for music. He attended and graduated from San Gabriel High School where he started playing the flute his freshman year in which he learned the fundamentals of music. He was a member of the Matador Marching Band, Matador Symphonic Band both under the direction of Tamara Cognetta and the Tri-City Orchestra under the direction of Curtis Richardson. Upon graduating he continued his music education at Pasadena City College under the instruction of Jamie Pedrini, principal flutist of the California Philharmonic. In 2008 he had the priviledge of performing with the Cal Phil as a featured performer. In 2009 he began taking lessons from professional flutist Jo Raquel Stoup, where he continues to learn and be inspired. He has been the recipient of numerous school recitals and scholarships. Finishing up his last semester at PCC, Luis hopes to transfer into the music program at California State University Long Beach to work on his Bachelors degree.


Conductor and Music Director – Jo Raquel Stoup

Jo Raquel Stoup, conductor and music director of PYMO, earned her Masters of Music degree in flute performance from Temple University in Philadelphia. As a performer, Ms. Stoup has premiered works by Howard Hansen, worked under the baton of Aaron Copland, performed with Maurice Abravanel and the Utah Symphony, soloed with Henry Mancini and performed with Luciano Pavarotti. She was a founding member of the Festival Chamber Players, and performed frequently with the Philadelphia Concerto Soloists and the Philadelphia Lyric Opera Company.

Devoted to music education, Ms Stoup has taught throughout the United States and at every grade level in the Pasadena School District. At John Muir High School, she developed a highly successful and respected music magnet program and received the Gold Crown Award for Arts Education and the Teacher of Excellence Award.

Ms. Stoup recently retired from her position as a full-time music faculty member at Pasadena City College, where she instructed music majors and directed the Orchestra. She continues to perform flute recitals and has appeared regularly as a Faculty Artist at the college. In addition, she is often called upon to clinic ensembles and conduct music festivals throughout the Southwestern United States.



Pauline Adamek

Pauline Adamek is a Los Angeles-based arts enthusiast with twenty-five years' experience covering International Film Festivals and reviewing new Theatre, Film and Restaurants.

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