Author Archives: Homer Youth String Orchestra

Preludes Fundraiser 2018

HYSOC performs during the Spaghetti Dinner and Dessert Auction Fundraiser to benefit the Paul Banks Preludes violin program who mission is to create better learners and citizens through instrumental music instruction and ensemble performance. For more information about Preludes visit there website:


Homer Youth String Orchestra Members Present

Violin Rosy Kauffman, Neviya Reed, Morgan Whiteside, Sylvia Clemens, Maggie-Mae Gaylord, Rainey Sundheim
Viola Theodore Hanley
Cello Clyde Clemens, David Clemens
Bass Lawson Alexson-Walls

Spreading Holiday Cheer

HYSOC ends the year with a special holiday performance at KBAY!


Homer Youth String Orchestra Members Present

Violin Rosy Kauffman, Sylvia Clemens, Daniel Perry
Viola Teddy Handley
Cello Avram Salzmann, Clyde Clemens

Young musicians record ‘Blue Ice’ at Grewingk Glacier | Homer News

Among musicians, a corny old joke goes like this: “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” “Practice, practice, practice.” This August, a group of young string musicians made their own concert venue, the majestic setting of Grewingk Glacier in Kachemak Bay State Park. So how does one get there?

“Walk, walk, walk,” said Clyde Clemens, 8.

On one fine summer day, Clemens, his sister Sylvia, and other musicians from the Homer Youth String Orchestra did just that when they tromped along the Saddle Trail to the lake and glacier on the south shore of Kachemak Bay. Tourists who came upon them playing against a backdrop of a towering glacier might have been surprised to hear string music in the wilderness. A video shoot and a later studio recording has resulted in “Blue Ice,” the name of the video as well as an original composition by Homer musician John Bushell, also known as Johnny B.

Last week, Bushell released the video on YouTube. Next month, at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 14, at the Homer Public Library, the Homer Youth String Orchestra, or HYSOC, performs the live premiere of “Blue Ice.” A piano player who got his start in Alaska playing around the state on his piano from the back of a truck, Bushell also appeared on Tom Bodett’s radio show. For years he has entertained tourists with his “Rhythm of the North,” a multimedia concert.

“I keep advertising it as a celebration of the glacier, the Grewingk Glacier, and a celebration of young kids music, youth performing,” Bushell said.

“It was really exciting. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, something other musicians might not do,” said Rosy Kauffman, first violin for HYSOC. “It was really awesome.”

Bushell got the idea for “Blue Ice” after he had done a show in Washington and a woman asked him if Alaskans can see the effects of climate change.

“I was stunned. It made me think down in the Lower 48 with all the news going on, there are still people who don’t know,” Bushell said.

He had seen HYSOC perform at the Homer High School Commons and decided he would write a song about glaciers to be played by the orchestra. Bushell talked to Daniel Perry, the musical director of HYSOC.

“He got excited, That’s exactly what he wanted to do with his group — fun projects like that to inspire kids to get into more serious music,” Bushell said.

“The kids were really excited about this project,” said Kara Clemens, mother of Clyde and Sylvia and parent coordinator for HYSOC. “When Johnny B. brought it up, it was a no-brainer. Johnny is the enthusiast for all things music and youth, and it turns out he’s an environmental activist.”

In the summer, Perry works as a naturalist guide at Kachemak Bay Wilderness Lodge in China Poot Bay.

“He’s got a wonderful lifestyle. He really has mastered combining his love and passion for music and love and passion for the outdoors,” Clemens said. “He’s really into building a group cohesion. He’s a wonderful leader for our group.”

Perry said he jumped at the chance to take music outdoors.

“We’re always stuck as musicians, stuck inside doing these things,” he said.

Bushell applied for and got a grant from the Homer Foundation to pay for production expenses, including having sewers at NOMAR make backpack straps for the musical instrument cases. The video starts out with the musicians walking down the ramp at the Homer Harbor and to a Mako’s Water Taxi boat. They go across the bay and hike over tree roots and along the trail to Grewingk Glacier Lake. While the musicians played at the glacier as Bushell videotaped them, they later recorded the music individually and as a group in Bushell’s studio.

Perry helped arranged Bushell’s original music for strings, but the musicians also developed the music.

“What was amazing about this project was the kids took ownership of it,” Perry said. “They would say, ‘Let’s try a crescendo here. … It was really their project as well, not just hiking their basses over the Saddle Trail.”

Bushell shot the video with an iPhone. He also uses drone camera footage to show the immensity of the glacier and the small dots of the musicians on the shore. One take not used in the final video had the musicians in wetsuits standing in the cold lake playing their instruments, with Clyde Clemens sitting on a sturdy iceberg playing his cello. The video includes recordings of water trickling off the ice.

“It’s a celebration of all glaciers. That’s the whole climate-change theme. The glacier stands alone. It’s so beautiful. This video really shows off the Grewingk with its blue ice,” Bushell said.

The video also shows the recession of the glacier, using archival footage to show its retreat from near the shore in 1900 to when the lake formed in 1926 to the glacier pulling back a mile from the shore and now 3 miles.

A final scene shows the musicians turning around and bowing to the glacier. Bushell said he had done a scene of them performing with their backs to the glacier, and then suggested they turn around and bow.

“It made sense. That was what we were there for,” he said.

Bushell composed and Perry arranged “Blue Ice” before the video session, and throughout June and July HYSOC practiced and refined the piece. For HYSOC, the studio recording marked the first time the musicians had done a recording.

“I think it’s cool to have that experience,” Clyde Clemens said.

“He feels like, wow, this is what real musicians do,” his mom said. “He’s 8 years old and already has this experience.”

“I learned you have to have a lot of patience with yourself to do things over and over,” Kauffman said. “It’s worth it. It’s a team building thing.”

Kauffman said she likes the feel of “Blue Ice.”

“It was very well done. It so fits the glacier. You can hear parts that are emulating the glacier, how majestic it is,” she said.

Clyde Clemens said he thought the music might help people understand climate change.

“It seems pretty clear. You can get the whole idea from the video. I think they’ll know it’s happening,” he said.

HYSOC was the brainchild of the late Homer musician Sally Kabisch, who wanted to place for her students to play. Lisa Whip and conductor Tia Pietsch founded HYSCO in the fall of 2004 after Kabisch died. Starting with five students, it has grown to 13, with students ages 8 to 16. Students have to be able to read music and usually need to take private lessons to join, Clemens said. A new music group at Paul Banks Elementary School, Preludes, now in first and second grades, is building a generation of string musicians that Perry said he hopes will make the Homer classical music community stronger.

Clyde Clemens has some advice for those new musicians.

“Keep practicing,” he said. “You should just keep playing.”

Reach Michael Armstrong at



“Blue Ice” Video

Music by Johnny B.

Producer and director, John Bushell

Daniel Perry, Conductor

Clyde Clemens, Avram Salzmann, cello

Lawson Alexson-Walls, Iris Downey, bass

Rosy Kauffman, Sylvia Clemens, Neviya Reed, Morgan Whiteside, violins

Theodore Hanley, viola

Drone images by John Bushell, Ash Churchill and Biyi Akinlude

Video editing by Biyi Akinlude

Audio editing assistance by Kevin Duff

Visit to watch the video.

Source: Young musicians record ‘Blue Ice’ at Grewingk Glacier – Oct. 12, 2017 | Homer News

BLUE ICE the music video

Blue Ice, was released as a YouTube video by Johnny B, who composed the music specifically for HYSOC, recorded the group in his sound studio, and edited and produced the music video. The work showcases the talent and exuberance of HYSOC members as they hike with their instruments over the Saddle Trail to Glacier Lake to perform in front of massive icebergs melting near the shoreline.

The video also highlights the retreat of Grewingk Glacier and the often conflicting emotions we feel when confronted with climate change in Alaska.

Blue Ice Video

Music by Johnny B.
Producer and director, John Bushell
Daniel Perry, Conductor
Clyde Clemens, Avram Salzmann, cello
Lawson Alexson-Walls, Iris Downey, bass
Rosy Kauffman, Sylvia Clemens, Neviya Reed, Morgan Whiteside, violins
Theodore Hanley, viola
Drone images by John Bushell, Ash Churchill and Biyi Akinlude
Video editing by Biyi Akinlude
Audio editing assistance by Kevin Duff


Farmers’ Market 2016

HYSOC kicks off their 2016-17 season with a Farmers’ Market performance with a few members from all of our groups!


Songs Performed:

Angelina Baker
Bile Em Cabbage Down
Cripple Creek
Old Joe Clark

The Happy Farmer
Minuet 1
Hunters’ Chorus
Fan Dance

Aspen Glow
Blue Rhythmico
Fiddle Faddle Hoedown

Witches Dance
Bach Country Fiddles

Ash Grove
Perpetual Fiddle Motion
Buffalo Gals
The Butterfly
Mairi’s Wedding

Swallowtail Jig
Kesh Jig
My Darling Asleep
Home on the Range
Simple Gifts

Homer Youth String Orchestra Members

Violin Lisa Schallock,  Rosy Kauffman, Teddy Handley, Maggie-Mae Gaylord, Sylvia Clemens, Ava Halstead, Chloe Adkison, Neviya Reed, Daniel Perry
Cello David Clemens, Clyde Clemens



Fiddle Faddle Hoedown



Spring Concert 2016

This performance showcased our HYSOC musicians performing:

Chamber Group

“Concerto in D G. Telemann” – arr. by Labrie (transcribed from Concerto for Four Violins No. 2, TWV 40:202)

Homer Youth String Orchestra Members

Violin Teddy Handley & Sammy Walker; >Viola Ethan Benedetti; >Cello Avram Salzmann

Orchestra Groups

Allegros – Our older students

“High Jinks” – John O’Neil (Miles Catlin, Horn)
“Ships of Ireland” – Soon Hee Newbold
“Galena-Milwaukee Breakdown”  – Catherine McMichael
“Celtica” –  Brian Balmages
“Arabian Dreams” –  Soon Hee Newbold

Homer Youth String Orchestra Members

Violin Chloe Adkison,  Teddy Handley, Rosy Kauffman, Roan Rediske, Zoe Stonorov, Sammy Walker,
Viola Ethan Benedetti, Miles Catlin
Cello Carly McLean, Avram Salzmann

Tuttis  – Our Full Orchestra

“Haymaker Hoedown” – William Owens
“Star Wars” – J. Williams arr. by Clark
“Black River Ballad” – Doris Gazda
“Fantasia on a Theme from Thailand” – Richard Meyer

Homer Youth String Orchestra Members

Violin Chloe Adkison, Sylvia Clemens, Maggie-Mae Gaylord, Ava Halstead, Teddy Handley, Rosy Kauffman, Roan Rediske, Neviya Reed, Zoe Stonorov, Rainey Sundheim, Sammy Walker, Morgan Whiteside
Viola Ethan Benedetti, Miles Catlin
Cello Clyde Clemens, Carly McLean, Avram Salzmann
Bass Lawson Alexson-Walls, Iris Downey

Video Excerpt from “Fantasia on a Theme from Thailand”- Richard Meyer


Video Excerpt from “Star Wars” – J. Williams arr. by Clark



HYSOC ready to rock — the strings | Homer Tribune

lined-upThe Friday night crowd at Paul Banks Elementary School were certainly feeling the music.
Children not yet old enough to walk were scooting closer to the music as the Homer Youth String Orchestra Club played for a crowd of art appreciators. The “Art Extravaganza” was one of the last chances to hear the orchestra under the direction of long-time artistic director and conductor, Lisa Schallock.
Schallock’s farewell concert Sunday, April 10th’s  3 p.m. spring concert in the Homer High Commons. Shallock said she is looking forward to the concert, as she knows her group won’t be “background music.”


Homer Alaska’s only locally-owned newspaper, Alaska’s Best Weekly 2008 & 2009

Source: HYSOC ready to rock — the strings | Homer Tribune

Paul Banks First Friday Event

This performance showcased our HYSOC musicians performing:

Chamber Group

“Blue Rhythmico” – Kirt N. Mosier
Brandenburg Concerto No. 3″ (first movement) – Bach arrangement by R. Meyer
Teddy Handley (Violin), Sammy Walker (Violin), Ethan Benedetti (Viola), Avram Salzmann (Cello)

Orchestra Group

Tuttis  – Our full orchestra
“Haymaker Hoedown” by William Owens, “Aspen Glow” by Susan H. Day, “Aurora Borealis” by Michael Hopkins,  and “Bach Country Fiddles” by Richard Meyer


Listen to KBBI’s story about HYSOC recorded during this event


Youth Orchestra Preps for Spring Concert | KBBI

The Homer Youth String Orchestra Club is gearing up for their spring concert.

Lisa Schallock is the Music Director for the Orchestra.

“We have three cellos and our youngest cellist is only in first grade and we have two bases and two violas and ten violins maybe – first [grade] through senior in high school,” said Schallock.

15-year-old Ethan Benedetti, a Homer High School freshman, plays the viola.

“I’ve been doing it for so long I don’t really get nervous playing this instrument, but when I play any other instrument I feel nervous. I started playing this when I was seven years old. It’s fun playing it in a group setting, and I enjoy playing it well in front of an audience,” said Benedetti.

Instruments in the Homer Elementary School music room where Homer Youth String Orchestra Club meets to practice.
Credit Photo by Daysha Eaton/KBBI

Freshman, Sammy Walker plays the Violin.

“It’s fun playing with them,” said Walker.

Homer High School freshman, 15-year-old Avram Salzmann plays the cello.

“I still get really scared,” Salzmann says, before performing.

“I’ve been doing it for a long time. I started when I was three-and-a-half. I like the groove of the music and the fact that you can like kind of dance to it while you’re playing,” said Salzmann.

Salzmann’s teacher, Schallock, is retiring this year. He says she’ll be missed.

“I want to thank Lisa for being our director, cause she’s retiring this year and she’s done an amazing job. She has a lot of patience with us even when we’re messing around,” said Salzmann.

The Homer Youth String Orchestra Club’s Spring Concert is scheduled for Sunday, April 10th at 3 p.m. in the Homer High School Commons. The concert is free and open to the public.

Source: Youth Orchestra Preps for Spring Concert | KBBI