The Arizona Youth Symphony is alternative music. It is not alternative music in the contemporary sense, but, it is a different option for serious music students.
The young people, ages 13 to 20 who are selected by formal auditions, present, "Full length, original, classical literature," founder and conductor Steven Bardin said, adding the music is the same as that presented by the Phoenix Symphony.
Among the works in the Arizona Youth Symphony repertoire are those by Haydn, Beethoven and Strauss.
Bardin started the youth symphony three years ago.
"There was a need," he said. "There are a lot of good youth musicians. It is private and totally separate from public schools."
Bardin said his students rehearse only once a week, but the two-hour rehearsals are intense. He said it is a very strict operation, the students who participate must want to play good music and be willing to work hard. The students pay to participate, he said.
Bardin demands precision from the students.
"It is not a social thing," Chase Kamp, 15, one of two Rim country residents in the symphony, said.
A resident of Payson and the son of Linda and William Kamp, Chase attends the Fitch Academy in Mesa. He stays with family for classes, then returns home every other weekend.
The other local resident is Bardin's daughter, Tori.
The two Rim youths are among the 50 young people who make up the symphony. Kamp is its only percussionist and Tori Bardin plays cello.
The students audition for the symphony in August, practice September through May and present two concerts a year.
Their first performance is this weekend at 6 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 19 at the Chandler Center for the Arts, 250 N. Chandler Avenue. The second concert will be May 4, also at the Chandler facility.
This is Kamp's first season with the Arizona Youth Symphony. He has been drumming since he was 9, first taking lessons from the father of a friend. He said he stumbled on his friend's father's drum set and was asked if he wanted lessons. He did, but it was about 18 months before the lessons started.
Since then, Kamp has had about six years of private instruction and also played with the Rim Civic Orchestra for two seasons. "That was my introduction to classical music," he said.
Kamp hopes to pursue a career in professional music and said, "It can be anywhere, as long as I'm doing music."
Asked about the challenges and rewards of being in the Arizona Youth Symphony, Kamp said, "The professional attitude is a big challenge. It is difficult to live up to (Bardin's) expectations. You can play a piece and think it is absolutely perfect and he will keep you working on it to get the finest detail right."
Kamp does not leave music behind when the summer rolls around. For the past two years he has been able to participate in the Summer Music Camp at Northern Arizona University and hopes to return again this summer.
To see the work of Kamp and the Bardins with the Arizona Youth Symphony, attend the Jan. 19 concert, 6 p.m. at the Chandler Center for the Arts.
Young people, between the ages of 13 and 20, who think they would be interested in auditioning for the symphony can contact Bardin at (480) 303-9676.