Press Release: American Youth Symphony and A Place Called Home Host Virtual Music and Movie Night for South Central Los Angeles Families

Friday, March 5, 2021

6:15 p.m. – AYS pre-show concert with special guest conductor Jessica Bejarano

7:00 p.m. – Presentation of the film, Sing

Free for everyone!

Please visit https://www.aysymphony.org/apch-concert/ for more information 

Supported by the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs

(January 28, 2021, Los Angeles, CA) – The American Youth Symphony (AYS) and A Place Called Home (APCH) have joined forces once again to bring classical music to South Central families and the local community. On Friday, March 5, 2021 at 6:15 p.m., as part of APCH’s Family Film Fridays, AYS will present an interactive pre-show concert event featuring performances by AYS and APCH musicians, a live raffle, and a conducting lesson led by Jessica Bejarano, founder and conductor of the San Francisco Philharmonic. Following the pre-show concert, guests will be treated to a screening of the animated musical film, Sing. All of the evening’s festivities will take place online and are free and accessible to APCH’s entire membership base, their extended families and invited friends. 

Bejarano first collaborated with AYS when she became the first woman to conduct the orchestra as part of their gala concert in 2019, which celebrated AYS’s “Year of the Woman” programming initiative. Born and raised in a low income, predominantly Latinx neighborhood of Los Angeles, Bejarano’s path to the podium was certainly an unconventional one. In fact, Jessica was not exposed to classical music until she enrolled in an orchestral class at Pasadena City College, and was “instantly drawn” to the full experience of performing as part of an orchestra. From that point forward, she persevered, and is committed to widening accessibility to classical music.

APCH’s mission to provide inspiration, support and opportunity to the young people of South Central through arts, education and wellness aligns with AYS’ commitment to deepen engagement throughout the many diverse Los Angeles communities. APCH is very excited to introduce Ms. Bejarano to the community through this event. Classical music is a recent addition to APCH programming, and staff are eager to share this beautiful art form, and Ms. Bejarano’s story and talent, with families who may not have experienced it before. AYS and APCH strive to foster positive exchange by celebrating community through music. To learn more about A Place Called Home, please visit apch.org.

Family Film Fridays lineup:

6:15 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.: pre-show concert event

AYS solo performances:

Errol Rhoden, tuba

Elizabeth LaCoste, flute 

Sérgio Coelho, clarinet 

AYS duet performance

A Thousand Cranes, composed by Alex Mansour, AYS principal cellist and Creative Fellow 

Jessica Bejarano 

Interactive conducting lesson 

APCH Youth Strings Ensemble performance

APCH Live Raffle 

7:00 p.m.: Screening of Sing

Calendar Editors:

What: Family Film Fridays

Who: American Youth Symphony and A Place Called Home 

Where: Zoom Link: tinyurl.com/apchmusicxfff Passcode: APCHFFF

When: Friday, March 5, 2021, 6:15 p.m.

Tickets: Free! 

About American Youth Symphony Founded in 1964 by renowned conductor Mehli Mehta, the American Youth Symphony inspires the future of classical music by training the next generation of professional musicians and building new audiences for orchestral music. AYS presents ambitious seasons that feature thoughtful programming of exceptionally high quality, covering a breadth of symphonic music, including beloved classics, film scores, chamber works, and contemporary pieces. AYS is committed to reflecting the diversity of Los Angeles in its programming, representing artists and composers of all genders, generations, and ethnicities. AYS is also committed to equity within the orchestra, by holding blind, free auditions, and by paying musicians instead of charging tuition. AYS concerts are presented for free or low cost, at world-class concert halls and local community venues alike, with the goal of welcoming anyone who is interested to enjoy this beautiful art form. https://aysymphony.org/ 

About A Place Called Home A Place Called Home (APCH) provides a safe, nurturing environment with proven programs in arts, education, and wellness for the young people in South Central Los Angeles to help them improve their economic conditions and develop healthy, fulfilling and purposeful lives. Since its founding in 1993, APCH has directly served more than 20,000 youth members through its core school day, after school and summer programming, and over 150,000 local residents through family and supportive services including food, clothing, and holiday toy distributions, counseling, voter education, and community organizing. For more information, visit apch.org.


About Jessica Bejarano

Jessica Bejarano is the Founder and Music Director of the San Francisco Philharmonic. In addition Jessica also serves as Assistant Conductor of Opera Parallele; Music Director of ELM Youth Orchestra; Music Director at Escuela Bilingue Internacionale; Artistic Specialist of Youth Orchestra Salinas and regular guest conductor with Camerata Antonio Soler Orchestra in San Lorenzo de el Escorial, Spain. Jessica was featured on NBC’s The Today Show with Natalie Morales as the “Woman Breaking Barriers as a Trailblazing Symphony Conductor.” PBS News Hour Weekend also featured a segment on Jessica as an emerging female conductor and KQED named Jessica as one of 10 artists to watch in KQED Arts’ Bay Brilliant Top 10 Artists of 2018. In 2019 Jessica was the first woman in history to guest conduct the American Youth Symphony in Los Angeles.  She was also the featured guest conductor and clinician at the San Diego State University’s Women in Music, Diversity and Leadership Conference. January 2018, she was one of twelve female conductors selected from around the world to attend and conduct at the International Women’s Conference in New York City. During that same time Jessica was the resident conductor of the University of California Santa Cruz Symphony Orchestra. Jessica has guest conducted in Russia, Italy, Romania, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Spain, Venezuela and throughout the United States. Jessica received her Master of Arts in Choral and Orchestral Conducting from the University of California Davis; Bachelor of Music in Music Education from the University of Wyoming and Associates of Fine Arts in Music Education from Casper College.