Santa Monica Youth Orchestra Kicks Off Holiday Festivities with 2015 Winter Concert

Over 100 youth musicians will perform music by John Williams, Richard Rodgers and others

Santa Monica, Calif.—The Santa Monica Youth Orchestra (SMYO) will present its 2015 Winter concert at 3 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 13, at Saint Augustine’s by-the-Sea Episcopal Church, 1227 Fourth St., Santa Monica. Some 104 talented musicians, ranging in age from 7- to 15-years-old, will perform a festive program featuring music by John Williams, Richard Rodgers, Gioachino Rossini, Sally Albrecht and others. The event also features a youth choir performance. The program is under the direction of SMYO music director Shou Ping Liu and SMYO choir director Anaïs de la Morandais. The concert is open to the public, with a requested donation of $10.
“These kids have enormous talent, and we’re so proud to share it with the community,” said SMYO founder Shabnam Fasa. “Our mission is to cultivate cultural understanding, cooperation, and peer mentorship among its participants through a shared love of music.”
Fasa founded the group with Julius Reder Carlson in 2011 to provide tuition-free music education to a diverse cross-section of local youth. ”Music is a positive way to bridge gaps and to create a bond between people who might otherwise have little in common. It conveys a message of peace and empowerment,” Fasa said.
The program’s faculty consists of skilled musicians and experienced teachers with a passion for music making. As a program of the Santa Monica Boys & Girls Clubs, SMYO reaches out to local youth to provide music training, supplemented by a wide range of educational activities including music history lectures for students, music appreciation classes for parents, and music field trips designed to provide live exposure to a wide variety of musical genres.
“The benefits music provides to children goes well beyond the reward of being able to play an instrument. Research findings show music training enhances academic performance, improves memory, builds social skills and provides a sense of achievement,” said Tim Blaylock, CEO, Santa Monica Boys & Girls Clubs. “We’ve seen the benefits first-hand as many of our Club members who participate in SMYO learn cooperation and collaboration, patience and perseverance, as well as the skills of good citizenship as they work together to make music.”
SMYO gives several public concerts each year, including seasonal concerts involving “theme” performances (Bach, “Latin” Music, Beethoven, etc.) and community concerts held in conjunction with local events. For more information about the Santa Monica Youth Orchestra (SMYO), visit

Founded in 1944, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Monica works to inspire and enable all young people to reach their full potential as caring, responsible and productive citizens. Through membership and outreach, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Monica currently serves approximately 4,000 youth across its 10 sites throughout Los Angeles County. Members come from 134 different ZIP codes, with the majority of members coming from Santa Monica, Culver City, Venice, West Los Angeles and Inglewood. For more information, visit or follow them on Facebook ( and Twitter (