IT'S BEEN 10 YEARS since Karlyn Bond last performed on a Utah Symphony-Deseret News "Salute to Youth" concert - when you're 22, nearly half a lifetime.
Next week she takes center stage once again, not to dazzle us all with the finale of the Mendelssohn G minor Piano Concerto she played in 1978 but to perform the complete Concerto in E flat major of Liszt. Thus she will conclude this year's edition of the annual Thanksgiving-week concert, to take place at 8 p.m. Nov. 23 in Symphony Hall. And, she says, she's thrilled to be back."Playing with an orchestra is as exciting as anything I know," the Salt Lake pianist says via telephone from Walla Walla, Wash., where she currently attends Walla Walla College. "I remember really looking forward to it, and working hard," she says of her first "Salute to Youth." "But it was more exciting than I even thought it would be, and I remember being really disappointed when it was over."
Although she performed the Liszt concerto earlier this year with the Walla Walla Symphony, Karlyn confesses that audiences still scare her. "But I felt prepared enough that I could enjoy it," she says, "and I feel the same way this time. I try to have the attitude that the purpose of the performance is to do something for the music and for your audience. That way I find I don't have to put so much on the line and it becomes more a giving experience than an act of self-glorification."
She is not the only one of this year's soloists who admits to being nervous from time to time. Even after years of performing, Brigham Young University bassoonist Christian B. Smith - one of five BYU students on next week's program - says he still feels uncomfortable in front of an orchestra.
"But I think you have to be a little nervous, a little on edge," he adds. "I don't know how to explain it but sometimes it helps me musically, that extra bit of adrenalin. You just have to control it and put it in your music instead of letting it distract you."
It's hard to think anything could distract Chris from the bassoon. At 24, he's been playing it for the past 12 years. A year ago he married another bassoonist, the former Patricia Bonney, and they now play together in the BYU Philharmonic, BYU Wind Symphony and Salt Lake Symphony. In fact, when you call their home their answering machine kicks off its message with the bassoon theme - Grandpapa - from "Peter and the Wolf."
That union stems from a Mormon Youth Symphony concert Chris attended a couple of years ago in the Salt Lake Tabernacle. "Of course I always watch the bassoonists to see who's playing, and I noticed her and said, `I've got to meet this girl.' " Later he did, on her first day at the Y., and the rest is history.
"We do have different preferences," he says of their relationship. "I've always liked the brighter sound of the bassoon and she likes the darker sound. But since we've been married we've come closer even though we're not completely together." Wednesday Chris will apply that sound to the opening movement of the Weber Bassoon Concerto.
More Weber comes from another musically connected BYU performer, 24-year-old mezzo Hilary Dalton, who will sing Agathe's "Leise, leise" from the opera "Der Freischuetz." The daughter of BYU music professor David Dalton and soprano Donna Dalton, she follows in the footsteps of her violinist sister Alison, who soloed three times on "Salute to Youth," in 1972, 1974 and 1982. And although she also has performed in public many times, including leads in a number of BYU opera productions, she also admits to an occasional attack of the jitters.
"What I usually do is concentrate on my breathing and let myself be absorbed into the aria," Hilary says. She adds that the latter begins even before she steps onstage, "since I really like knowing the background of the opera. You can bring so much more to a piece when you know something about the character you are playing and what you are supposed to be singing about."
In the case of "Freischuetz" - arguably the most German of German operas - that shouldn't have been too hard. While still in her childhood Hilary spent time in Europe with her family, where German was commonly spoken in the home, and later served as a German-speaking LDS missionary in Switzerland. Even now when she speaks of the music of Schubert, Brahms and Mozart, the names come out in a German dialect.
A musical family is also at the root of 22-year-old Bryce Mecham's love affair with the trombone. "Everybody played something," the BYU senior says of his youth in Idaho Falls. "My dad played the trumpet, my mom played the piano, my oldest sister played the flute, and two other older sisters played the clarinet. We used to have a family band and my sisters and I also sang barbershop music."
Wednesday Bryce will solo in Lars-Erik Larsson's Concertino for Trombone and Strings, the only work by a living composer on next week's program. His own tastes, he allows, run the gamut from the classics to jazz, and in fact he is currently first trombone in both the BYU Philharmonic and the jazz group Synthesis, with whom he visited Europe last summer.
Although she is only 13, violinist Rosalie Lund of Bountiful has had international performing experience. At age 10 she was one of 11 youngsters from the United States and Canada selected to represent the International Suzuki Association on a tour of South America. Her Suzuki background is also what brought her in contact with Utah Symphony music director Joseph Silverstein, with whom she performed the Vivaldi Four-Violin Concerto (from "L'Estro armonico") the following year.
Silverstein, who selected each of this year's soloists, will conduct Wednesday's concert.
"He's very knowledgeable, and plays splendidly," she says of her older colleague. She still marvels that he was able to put together a program she performed on with the symphony at Sundance in only one rehearsal. "As a conductor or a soloist, it's really great working with him."
Otherwise Rosalie mainly concertizes with her family. As the oldest of seven children, she regularly leads them in performances around the Salt Lake Valley in addition to holding down a chair in the Utah Youth Symphony. Wednesday she will be heard in the opening movement of Wieniaski's Violin Concerto No. 2.
Another diminutive performer on this year's concert is 12-year-old Adriana Jarvis of Provo, who will solo in the first movement of the MacDowell Second Piano Concerto. Even so, it will not be her first appearance with a full-sized orchestra, or before a full-sized audience, as recently as two years ago she soloed with the Utah Valley Symphony on its Young Artists Night.
At that time she played the Muczynski Piano Concerto and protected herself from the shakes by concentrating on the music and not the spectators. "I didn't really notice them very much," she says. "If I had I would have made myself more nervous. I just played what I had and didn't think about it."
She remembers picking out her first piece on the piano at age 2 - "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" - before settling into formal study at age 4. Even today she is awed by the instrument's tonal range. "I like all the things you can do with it," she observes. "You can make so many different sounds and say so much with it."
BYU students Bret Jackson and David Cardon, on the other hand, had their instruments picked out for them - in Jackson's case by his father, in Cardon's by chance.
"My dad was a really fine trumpet player," Jackson recalls, "and he started me at an early age, around third grade. He was really strict about it, too - I used to get grounded if I didn't practice every day, which I used to think was pretty unfair."
Nonetheless, within a couple of years Bret was good enough to qualify for the band program at his school and by the time he was 16 was tapped to solo with the Los Alamos Community Orchestra in the same piece he will be performing Wednesday, the Haydn Trumpet Concerto. (He has subsequently performed it with the BYU Philharmonic.)
Indeed, his "Salute to Youth" appearance will cap what has already been an extraordinary year for the 24-year-old trumpeter. Not only has he performed in the trumpet sections of the Utah Symphony and Ballet West orchestra, but earlier he captured top spots in the Music Teachers National Association and International Trumpet Guild solo competitions.
Another multiple contest winner is the 22-year-old Cardon. A graduate of Logan High School, he is a former Sterling Scholar in Music for the state of Utah and winner of both the 1985 Utah Federation of Music and 1987 Utah Music Teachers Association competitions. Despite that, he is still not sure he wants to make a career in music.
"Right now I have a triple major in math and physics and music," the BYU junior says. "I'll probably be going to graduate school in mathematics and get my doctorate, and after that try to get a job as a university professor or in private industry." On the other hand, he says almost wistfully, "if an opportunity on the flute came along I would be willing to take a few years off and play in an orchestra."
That dream, he acknowledges, goes back to his junior high days, when he decided that someday he was going to play first flute in a major orchestra. Quite a jump for a lad who first encountered the instrument when his elementary school music program in Philadelphia couldn't deliver on the cello he wanted and offered him a flute instead.
"At first things were kind of dismal," he recalls. "I didn't practice at all and missed a lot of lessons. Then we moved to Utah and things completely turned around." Within a year, he says, he was practicing an hour and a half a day and even then setting his sights on "Salute to Youth."
"That's been on my list of goals ever since I heard about it," he confesses, adding that he picked the piece he is performing - the first movement of the Reinecke Flute Concerto - because of its basically romantic sound.
Which shows, I guess, how a little thing like that can seduce even a would-be mathematician into a life of art.
Tickets for the traditional Thanksgiving-week program range in price from $6 to $12, with a special family ticket available for $29. (Student tickets are also available, subject to some restrictions, for $4.) For information call the Utah Symphony box office, 533-6407.