Youth orchestra coming to North Gulfport - - The News for South Mississippi

Youth orchestra coming to North Gulfport


By Krystal Allan – bio | email 

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - For Stephanie Thomas, music was her ticket.  An accomplished cello player, Thomas won numerous state honors in high school and earned a scholarship to play in college.  She's played on stage with artists like famed tenor Placido Domingo and R&B star Pattie LaBelle.

Though she's accomplished a lot, one of her greatest musical achievements, she says, is just taking shape.

"My vision moving forward is to have a professional-class orchestra, world-class," Thomas said.

This new orchestra will be made up of young people from the North Gulfport community.  It's called the North Gulfport Youth Symphony Orchestra.  Everything from the instruction to the instruments is free.

"I love music. Getting a new instrument in my life to play... I'd be happy to do that," orchestra member Dayjsa Chapman said.

"You're getting to do it for free so why not come and learn about instruments," said orchestra member Jordan Autman.

After a quick tutorial from Stephanie, Ashley Dedeaux, discovered she's already got the timing and talent to excel.  Dedeaux attended an informational meeting on Wednesday for the orchestra.  Ashley's mom, Adrenne, is eager to support her daughter's musical ambitions.

"I can see her playing the violin and playing in public and really gaining self-confidence," said Adrenne Dedeaux.

For Stephanie, the focus isn't on how many come, but making sure this opportunity is available for any young person who wants to grab hold of it.

"I feel like it's very important for someone to come back and give back to the community that raised them.  Because, if we export all of our good talent and our smart people, then where does that leave us.  It's just a wonderful experience that will take our kids beyond North Gulfport, beyond Gulfport, maybe even beyond Mississippi, and who knows beyond the country. The sky is the limit when you put forth the effort," Thomas said.

Stephanie said she owes a lot of credit to her mom for pushing her to excel musically.  She also credits Rose Johnson of the North Gulfport Community Landtrust for giving her the opportunity to come home and work in her community.

The classes will be held at the North Gulfport Community Education Center off Madison Street.  So far, the orchestra has about eight string instruments.  The group could still use donations of instruments, sheet music or financial help.

For more information on how to join or sponsor the North Gulfport Youth Symphony Orchestra,  call 228-868-0250 and ask for Stephanie.

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