THE GREATER Baltimore Youth Orchestra, cut out of a three-week summer tour of Italy because of Persian Gulf jitters, will instead play an all-American program to benefit a local health program for low-income children who are ineligible for medical assistance.
The 65 players, ages 14 to 21 and mostly area high school students, will perform at 7 p.m. Sunday at Kraushaar Auditorium, Goucher College. Tickets are $5 and $3 for seniors. The players, based at Essex Community College, rehearse weekly under their director, Anne Harrigan.
For violinist Robert Cha, a Dulaney Valley High School senior, the orchestra's eighth and final season concert is his last after more than two years of sharpening his sight reading and general music skills considerably. "We rehearse once a week and come together as a group more than others -- there's a unity among the people."
For bassoonist Christopher Williams, a Joppatown High School senior, the orchestra has meant much to him because of Harrigan.
"Her personal, down-to-earth approach is good. She's able to work with kids, teach technical things to less experienced musicians in ways they can understand. She also taught us about playing with emotion, even using body gestures."
Both Cha and Williams, headed for Franklin and Marshall College and James Madison University respectively, say the players regretted missing the Italy trip, but they decided after Jan. 15 when it was postponed to do something special instead for needy people at home.
One orchestra member suggested helping the Caring Program, a tax-deductible health care charity run by Maryland Blue Cross and Blue Shield.
The program is aimed at about 100,000 Maryland children of "working poor" families who live in poverty but are ineligible for medical assistance.
People wishing to help such children can call 301-998-KIDS. A child can be sponsored for $198 for a full year. Fred M. Gloth Jr. is program president, Bonnie B. Katz is the manager.
Meanwhile for Sunday, Harrigan's orchestra is planning "Porgy and Bess," Copland's "Hoe Down" and "John Henry," "The Stars and Stripes Forever," "Battle Hymn of the Republic," "The Empire Strikes Back" and other old-timers.
For ticket details, call the college at 522-1421 or Frances Deerman, 821-5783. For information about the orchestra, call 998-5845.