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13 young musicians to showcase talents with Utah Symphony at 56th annual Salute to Youth concert

SALT LAKE CITY — Thirteen young musicians will showcase their effort, practice, talents and passion in the 56th annual Salute to Youth concert at Abravanel Hall on Tuesday, Sept. 22, at 7 p.m.

These musicians, accompanied by the Utah Symphony, will perform the works of composers including Vivaldi, Mozart, Beethoven and Rachmaninoff.

Rei Hotoda, associate conductor of the Utah Symphony, will lead the soloists and orchestra. This concert marks Hotoda’s first performance conducting on the Abravanel Hall stage since she began her new role as associate conductor of the symphony earlier this month.

The 13 soloists for this concert were selected from among 41 finalists. Performers include violinists McCall Andersen, Rachel Aina Call, Erika Hubbard, Soonyoung James Kwon, Jeremy David Lewis and William Yavornitzky; violist Madison Anne Marshall; pianists Hannah Jean Baker, Trenton Chang and Alexander Cheng; soprano Sally Drutman; flutist Ashley Fleming; and harpist Mischael Ann Staples.

With ages ranging from 12-20, all of these musicians have worked hard to get to this point in their lives. Prior to this year, Fleming, 18, had auditioned for Salute to Youth three times.

“The first time I made it into finals, I messed up at the very end. I was 14 then. I tried again last year and got honorable mention,” Fleming said.

Fleming will be leaving Nov. 4 to serve as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Montreal, so this was her last chance to perform in Salute to Youth. She will perform the second movement of Jacques Ibert’s Concerto for Flute and Orchestra. Fleming is excited for Tuesday evening.

“It’s not a talent if you’re not willing to share,” she said. “I love to see everybody smiling and happy and impressed.”

For some of the young musicians, this is not their first Salute to Youth performance. Chang, 17, has been featured two other times.

“There’s just something about performing that makes it really awesome,” Chang said. “It’s the end goal of hours of practicing all of the millions of notes. It’s about getting in front of people and showing them what you love.”

Chang will end the concert Tuesday evening with the third movement of Rachmaninoff’s Concerto No. 2 in C minor for piano and orchestra.

In addition to solo performances, the concert will feature a couple of ensemble numbers. Call, 13, is performing Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante for Violin, Viola and Orchestra with Marshall, 16. Although she will play a duet, Call has had much experience as a soloist and performed at Carnegie Hall in March.

“I thought it would be a scary thing, but I was really excited for it,” Call said. “When I actually played, it was really fun to play for people.”

Call is looking forward to her duet with Marshall.

“It is awesome to know that people love what you’re doing,” she said.

Sponsored by the Deseret News, Salute to Youth is a yearly tradition that seeks to celebrate the efforts and skills of dedicated musicians as well as to inspire musicians for years to come.

“Music has just pretty much engrained itself into every bit of my life,” Chang said. “I spend quite some time practicing and pretty much spend the rest of my time listening to music. … Music is like the soundtrack to your life.”

If you go …

What: 56th annual Salute to Youth concert

When: Tuesday, Sept. 22, 7 p.m.

Where: Abravanel Hall, 123 W. South Temple

How much: $6-$18, prices increase $2 on the day of the performance

Phone: 801-355-2787