Hitting a High Note
Boone County Youth Orchestra Welcomes New Associate Artistic Director Chaz Rhodes
Photographer: Ryan Woodall
A love of music can follow you throughout your life. Just ask Chaz Rhodes, the new associate artistic director of the Boone County Youth Orchestra.
Rhodes’ musical journey began early in his life when he was in grade school, and his instrument of choice was the trombone. Once he was in high school, he switched to tuba to help his high school wind ensemble in marching band competitions.
In 2014, Rhodes graduated with honors from the University of Indianapolis, where he studied Jazz and classical trombone. Throughout his time in college, he played in multiple ensembles, including Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Big Band and Orchestra, among others.
Now, Rhodes is manning the helm at the BCYO in Lebanon, which provides a professional musical experience for young musicians in Boone County and surrounding areas. His participation with the orchestra started by sitting in on performances and helping cover parts. Not long after, the leadership at BCYO began to see something special in Rhodes and asked him to be more involved.
“[BCYO artistic director] Barb Walters asked me back to be a guest conductor and clinician,” Rhodes says. “The next concert, she asked me if I had any interest in being an artistic director. I had honestly never thought of conducting up until that point. Barb believed I would be a good fit, and I began to believe in myself.”
Rhodes is jumping into this new position, and already his orchestra is preparing for a concert, which is tentatively scheduled for October 4. But, first things first.
“My first goal is to get to know the kids better and get all of their names down,” Rhodes says. “We only have six rehearsals before we perform a show, and those two hours a week doesn’t leave much time for getting to know them.”
BCYO prides itself on its “side-by-side” experience, where each section of the youth orchestra is assisted by professional musicians and teachers who come from all over Central Indiana. One of Rhodes’ goals is to continue to build on this aspect of teaching, as well as build up the BCYO as a whole.
“I want to reach out to local schools and grow the orchestra,” Rhodes says.
BCYO accepts young musicians of all ages, from elementary school through high school.
“We have many of the same instruments you would see in an orchestra,” Rhodes adds. “At the moment, though, we don’t have all of the instruments covered, but I hope to fix that in the seasons to come. If you play horn, trombone, trumpet or viola, please join us.”
Rhodes is thrilled that he gets to continue to pursue his lifelong musical passion with his new position at BCYO and is hoping to impart some wisdom on the next generation of musicians.
“I love music, whether conducting, playing or teaching,” Rhodes says. “And with BCYO, I have the opportunity to do all of those things.
“Music had been like a key in my life,” Rhodes adds. “It has opened many doors for me and given me so many opportunities. I use it as meditation and as a coping mechanism. It’s both a major part of my life and an escape from it. I hope to help teach the kids how they can use music to better themselves overall.”
For more information on the Boone County Youth Orchestra, visit them online at bcyo.org or email them at email@example.com.