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Chantilly music director raises funds for Kennedy Center field trip

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On a rainy November night in Chantilly, music ranging from Johann Sebastian Bach to Lady Gaga rang out on the harp strings of Emily Mason, music director at St. Veronica Church.

The harpist was performing a solo harp concert to raise money for a special event for the parish youth orchestra.

“This year I wanted to take them on a field trip,” said Mason. “Some of them have not seen a real orchestra playing.”

The youth orchestra members will have the opportunity to hear the National Symphony Orchestra perform “A Holiday Pops! Under the Mistletoe with Ashley Brown” Dec. 14 at the Kennedy Center.

Mason said she didn’t want the cost of the tickets to deter them so donations from her performance offset the cost. Students will pay $10.

The concert opened with a performance of “Prelude in C Major — Ave Maria” and included two songs written by Mason.

The parish youth orchestra includes 18 members on strings, brass and woodwinds. They play for feast day Masses four times a year at the 9 a.m. Mass and the 4 p.m. Christmas Eve Mass. The group is open to third- through 12th-graders and there is no requirement to be a parishioner or student at St. Veronica.  

The St. Veronica Advanced Strings, a more advanced group of string players from the youth orchestra, play every other Sunday for the 9 a.m. Mass and for special Masses.

Addie-Quinn Kammerdeiner plays flute in the youth orchestra. Playing for Mass, she sees music as a form of prayer. “Music makes me happy and playing music for God makes my soul burst with happiness,” she said.

Kammerdeiner is excited about the opportunity to see the symphony.

“I think it's really great for us to get to see, as a group, the opportunities we might have if we work really hard and want to be a professional musician,” she said. “I am thankful to Emily Mason for giving us this opportunity to experience what it is like to play in a professional orchestra, especially for those of us considering a career in music.”

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2018