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Move over band and orchestra kids: Kansas City chamber music kids are here

Alex Brady, Caleb Lee, Nicholas Dold, and Sylvia Brown at a Kansas City Young Chamber Musicians rehearsal
Christy L'Esperance
Alex Brady, Caleb Lee, Nicholas Dold, and Sylvia Brown at a Kansas City Young Chamber Musicians rehearsal

Nicholas Dold, founder of Kansas City Young Chamber Musicians, is adding "chamber music kid" to the typical "band kid" and "orchestra kid" identities. Classical KC's Christy L'Esperance spoke with teenaged members of a chamber trio about music, emotions, and small group collaboration.

When Sylvia Brown, Caleb Lee, and Alex Brady — cellist, pianist, and flautist, respectively — auditioned for a placement through Kansas City Young Chamber Musicians, they knew they were going to grow and develop technically as musicians. What they didn't expect was how emotionally impactful the experience would be as well.

"Words can only mean so much," Caleb notes. "You know, they say when you learn a different language, you gain a new soul because there's words that mean certain things in certain languages. And I think music is kind of like its own language that's also universal. So there are things you can express through music that you can't express through words."

The trio was chosen to study together for ten weeks, receiving lessons and masterclasses from leading professional musicians. Sylvia, Caleb and Alex juggle busy teenaged lives, but music affords them an outlet that they wish more people their age could find.

"In today's day and age," Caleb offered, "it's really hard to express more somber moments. The world expects everyone to be energetic and always constantly doing something and being happy. It's really hard to be able to express if you're not having a great day. And I think music is a great outlet for that."

Alex agrees. "I think music is the most authentic thing that we have in our society right now. I think the young people who do play music find that to be the most rewarding part of it."

Sylvia understands that the emotional aspect extends to the listener. "When people are listening to music, not everybody is having the same sort of day or feeling the same sort of emotions. So even if someone is playing the music and feeling something, the audience might interpret it differently. It might mean something different to them."

The group is working on the "Trio for Flute, Piano, And Cello" by the trailblazing 19th Century French composer, Louise Farrenc.

Alex senses that independence and revolutionary spirit in Farrenc's "Trio."

"The first line that you hear in the music, it's so rebellious. It's paving its own path. From the beginning you get that and also throughout the music."

Bonus Content
Sylvia, Caleb and Alex discuss the work of composer Louise Farrenc. They also perform a portion of her "Trio for Flute, Cello, and Piano, Op.45."
Portrait of Louise Farrenc .jpg

Are there any regrets for devoting so much time to music? Sylvia believes that, "if your passion and hobbies are the same as what you want to do, it's easier to balance things because they're the same thing."

Alex adds, "There's definitely a lot of sacrifice involved. But if I didn't love it, then I wouldn't be doing it."

Sylvia, Caleb, and Alex will perform with another trio at 7:30 pm, Saturday, May 6th at Steinway Piano Gallery in Lenexa. The concert is free and open to the public. Learn more at

Kansas City native Christy L’Esperance (pronounced “LESS-per-ahns") started listening to classical music on the Snoopy radio she got for her 4th birthday. Today, as Classical KC’s Community Engagement Specialist and On-Air Host, she enjoys classical music through much better speakers. You can reach Christy at She would love to hear about the ways you keep music in your life.
Sam Wisman is a Senior Producer for 91.9 Classical KC and a backup announcer for KCUR 89.3. Email him at
Brooke Knoll is the digital audience specialist and afternoon host for Classical KC. You can reach her at