It is uncommon to see a youth orchestra in such a short time assume a leading role in the celebratory function of its host community the way the Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles (ICYOLA) has done in the past ten years.
Its play at various social, religious and political functions in the greater Los Angeles area, and in the nation’s capitol, has been a welcome addition to the music and cultural landscape of the region. The Orchestra has provided music for cotillions and debutante balls; it has been the featured musical entertainment at community banquets and dinners, including the Annual Urban League Gala, among others; it has been the orchestral accompaniment for inaugural political events for a host of U. S., California State, and Los Angeles County and City representatives. The Orchestra was the only large classical music ensemble invited to help dedicate the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C. The Orchestra has played on more than one occasion for First Lady Michelle Obama.
The tireless work of the Orchestra’s Executive Director and Conductor, Charles E. Dickerson III, has added to this impressive list of public performances celebrating the community which supports the Orchestra. Dickerson has composed two major symphonic works, one of which, the “I Have a Dream” symphony, has been performed by the Orchestra both in Washington, D.C., and in Los Angeles on several occasions, including, here in the Walt Disney Concert Hall, on the 50th anniversary of that most famous oration of 20th Century America. The second major symphony composition by Dickerson, Symphony No. 1, known as “The Mandela Symphony,” celebrates the extraordinary and sacrifcial life of South African President and Freedom Fighter Nelson Mandela. Like the “I Have a Dream” Symphony, “The Mandela Symphony” will have its world premiere performed by the Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles.
ICYOLA acknowledges its debt to the community and to the lives in it. In the coming years of great performances and local appearances, the Orchestra will continue to draw inspiration for its own effort from these lives.
J. Stanley Sanders, Esq.