Idyllwild Arts young talent say goodbye to their long-time conductor Larry Livingston
The talented students of the Idyllwild Arts High School Summer Chamber Festival Orchestra and Festival Choir didn’t just perform on the home stage of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, they owned it! Staff and students spent many hours preparing for what sounded like seasoned professionals performing on the stage.
This performance also marked the last for Larry Livingston, who conducted the summer symphony program for 31 years. “Thank you for your wonderful applause and being here today,” Livingston began in an emotional goodbye and encore.
“I am inexpressibly thankful that I had this wonderful opportunity for 31 years to drive up to Idyllwild and to try to help children. And in my quest, I have had so many magical experiences with individuals and groups I couldn’t list them all, but none of them rises higher in my celestial heart than this group of children, who took on a program that has nothing to do with about being in high school at all, and although chronologically they are correct, they are a bunch of high school students, we found the ancient warrior in each of them and it was a tremendous honor to watch that happen.
“And so, since this is my last moment with this wonderful Idyllwild world … we play a little encore now, and if you would understand this as my farewell,” concluded an incredibly emotional Livingston as he turned to lead his students one last time as an equally emotional audience
Shortly after Idyllwild Arts President Pamela Jordan took to the stage at the concert’s opening, she told the audience, “Today, Maestro Livingston will conduct his final concert as the Director of Chamber Festival Orchestra. Throughout his 30-year tenure, he worked tirelessly to ensure that Idyllwild Arts maintained its status as a world-renowned premier arts institution for high school students and learners of all ages.”
Jordan spoke about how last year’s summer program was impacted by the Cranston Fire and how students rose above it.
“Last year our summer was cut short due to the Cranston Fire that burnt over 13,000 acres before it was contained. Today, we rise victorious from the ashes and you are hearing the result of what can happen when young people commit, concentrate and work hard by being accountable to one another as well as themselves.”
The Festival Choir opened the second half of the concert with “This is Me” from “The Greatest Showman” with the audience cheering on performers as they entered the stage.
The students were up early that morning and began their journey to Los Angeles at 6:05 a.m. The time and dedication that the students, staff and families put into this concert, which is a fundraiser that helps provide scholarships to hundreds of Idyllwild Arts students, showed on the stage of the Walt Disney Concert Hall.