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Youth Orchestra Pops Concert Features Global Music Award-Winning Local Band

Story by Carrie Beth Wallace

On February 28, the Youth Orchestra of Greater Columbus will perform their Spring Pops Concert with some special guest artists. The concert will feature Wolf & Clover, a Columbus-based band that plays primarily Irish, Celtic, and folk music. The band recently earned their first Global Music Award for their self-titled debut album in December 2018.

Wolf & Clover. Photo by Bryan Canonigo.

So what's the connection to our local youth orchestra?

Two of the members of Wolf & Clover are also on staff with YOGC. Stephanie Payne and Jessica Bennett are both founding members of Wolf & Clover. Payne serves as YOGC's Executive Director, and Bennett is YOGC's Associate Conductor. Payne, who plays more than a dozen instruments, is thrilled to have Wolf & Clover share the stage with the students in YOGC. "It's a wonderful opportunity for our students to see us in a different light," she said. "My students don't see me play, because I am often solely in an administrative role at YOGC."

Payne went on to explain how vital she believes it is for students studying music to see professionals in action. "They all know that I play, but for them to be onstage with Jessica and I performing together reinforces a very important thing for them. We want our students to see and experience the fact that there are professional musicians in our community making a living working in music."

Watch Wolf & Clover perform their "Columbus Set" live in a recording studio in Uptown.

Each of the members of Wolf & Clover have careers working in the arts locally. "It is an essential part of our mission at YOGC to expose our students to the reality of what it means to work in the arts," Payne said.

The members of Wolf & Clover are each working in careers in our local arts community, but in drastically different roles. "Justin (Belew) is a gigging musician and has his own production recording studio," explained Payne. "Jessica (Bennett) has a wildly successful private teaching studio, and she plays professionally a good bit. Matt (McCabe) is an audio engineer and a professor at CSU. Julian (Chalon) is a student, and is still working on deciding what his career will look like. And then, I am working in the administrative side of the arts. I setup chairs and stands, I write grants, I proof marketing materials, I do a lot of the background work, but then I still have a professional playing career."

Students in the Youth Orchestra will be performing with Wolf & Clover on February 28 at the St. Luke Ministry Center. Tickets are on sale and include dinner before the concert. The Youth Orchestra's 2019 Maestro for a Moment contestants will also be announced during the concert.

Payne and her entire team at YOGC are looking forward to the concert next week. Not only to showcase the hard work of all of the YOGC students, but to hopefully send a message to the students the greater community as well.

"It's so important to us that our students see what working in the arts actually looks like, and that they can do it too if they're willing to work for it. Sharing the stage with them makes the statement that they are important and valued and we will support them however we can." ◼︎

If You Go:

What: YOGC Spring Pops Concert

When: February 28, doors open at 6, dinner service begins at 6:30 p.m., concert begins at 7.

Where: St. Luke Ministry Center

Cost: $30 for adults, $15 for children 12 & under. Tickets include dinner and the concert.



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