Alumni flutist returns to Anchorage to perform with youth orchestra

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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The Alaska Youth Orchestras are set to take the stage Tuesday night featuring a soloist with ties to the orchestra and the state's largest city.

“It’s great to be able to share what you know and what you're passionate about with the next generation,” Ceylon Mitchell, a professional flutist and music educator said.

Mitchell graduated from East High School in 2008. On Monday, the alumnus visited current band and orchestra students. “I really want to make sure if you really truly love what you're doing to be able to make sound and tell a story with your instrument, hold onto that,” he said.

Mitchell, who calls Maryland home now, is joining the Alaska Youth Orchestras on stage for its fall performance as the featured soloist. Part of his homecoming includes visiting with younger musicians and offering advice he hopes they'll tune into.

“A career in music, you have to have a thick skin. You have to be able to handle rejection, you have highs and you have lows and with perseverance and patience and putting in the time you find that you'll become successful in whatever definition that means for you in a career that is fulfilling and brings you joy.”

Running through scales and crescendos, the orchestra's members have been preparing for months but AYO music director Linn Weeda says the group only sets the tone for the life some of these musicians will lead. “Eighty to ninety young musicians are able to join together and make this marvelous sound and play this marvelous music by these important and fabulous composers. That's just the very model of what society is about,” Weeda said.

The fall performance for AYO is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Discovery Theater.

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