‘MARTYRS’ at Young Artists of America by Peter Grimm

Young Artists of America (“YAA”) performed the concert MARTYRS this past Friday and Saturday nights at the new, state of the art Performing Arts Center at the Sandy Spring Friends School, in Sandy Spring, Maryland. The concert featured 30 singers and more then 50 young instrumentalists. It was a combination of musical theater and opera, with the central theme of people who gave their lives for a worthy cause.

‘MARTYRS,’ featuring Young Artists of America Orchestra and Singers. Photo by Tiffany Krieger.

The program began with the rousing overture from Les Miserables, under the energetic direction of Music Director Kristofer Sanz. These young instrumentalists were sensational – sounding more like a professional orchestra. I have attended all of YAA’s performances and I am in awe of the talent of these fine musicians.

Guest soloist, soprano Colleen Daly singing Ave Maria from Verdi’s ‘Otello.’ Photo by Tiffany Krieger.

The soloists were excellent throughout the concert. Professional Soprano Colleen Daly sang “Pace, pace mio Dio” from Verdi’s La forza del destino and “Ave Maria” from Otello with gusto. Marissa Diehl and George Perry teamed up for a moving performance of “A Little Fall of Rain” from Les Miserables. Eitan Mazia, who earlier this year played The Phantom in YAA’s stunning The Phantom of the Opera, delivered “Javert’s Suicide,” also from Les Miserables, with great feeling and emotion as his voice soared to the heavens. Olivia Rubbo joytfully and enthusiastically performed Stephen Schwartz’s “The Spark of Creation” from Children of Eden.

The highlights of the concert for me were the soaring duet from Eitan Mazia and Olivia Rubbo of “All the Wasted Time” from Jason Robert Brown’s under-appreciated Parade and Ari Goldbloom-Helzner’s gorgeous and haunting rendition of “Not While I’m Around” from Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd.

YAA’s Artistic Director Rolando Sanz’s beautiful tenor voice was on full display in “There is a Fountain,” also from Jason Robert Brown’s Parade. There was fine support from Susannah McClanahan, Jamie Joeyen-Waldorf, Sarah Barker, and Sophia Anastasi.

YAA Student Eitan Mazia singing “Javert’s Suicide” from ‘Les Misèrables.’ Photo by Tiffany Krieger.

Martyrs ended on a uplifting note with “In the Beginning” from Children of Eden, featuring fine singing form Tara Johnson, Penelope Hough, Natalie Harris, and Simone Johnson Blanchard.

The professional quality from the Young Artists of America was exceptional and jaw-dropping for such young artists. l look forward to the next performance from this talented group of musicians and singers.

MARTYRS played on December 14 and 15, 2012 at Young Artists of America at  Sandy Spring Friends School, in Sandy Springs, MD.


  1. Hello Mr. Grimm,

    Thank you so much for reviewing our concert. We had a lot of fun preparing for it and I learned so much from our directors. And thank you for your very kind compliment!

    Ari Goldbloom-Helzner


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