The talented kids of Youth Orchestra Los Angeles came home to a hero’s welcome after sharing the stage with Coldplay, Beyonce and Bruno Mars at the Super Bowl 50 Halftime Show.
Their proud families and TV cameras were among throngs of people who gathered at the Walt Disney Concert Hall to await their return from Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara. Parents and other well-wishers greeted them with cheers, banners and bouquets of flowers as soon as they disembarked from their tour bus.
Led by LA Phil Music and Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel, YOLA is a program that provides free instruments, intensive musical training and academic support to about 700 students, ages 6-18, from underserved neighborhoods in South Los Angeles, East Los Angeles and the Rampart Distric t.
More than 40 students from YOLA at EXPO – Exposition Park – were selected to perform at Super Bowl 50. The sons and daughters of working class parents in South Los Angeles played violins, cellos, tubas and other instruments as Coldplay’s Chris Martin sang “Viva La Vida” and other hits before an audience of about 112 million viewers — the third most watched broadcast in US television history.
“This is historic,” Dudamel told the students during their homecoming celebration at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. “In time, you will say, ‘Yes, I was there.’”
On behalf of the Board of Supervisors, Supervisor Ridley-Thomas presented each of the students a scroll congratulating them on their extraordinary achievement.
“You are heroes because you represented your families, YOLA, and the County of Los Angeles well – not only to the state of California and the United States, but to the world,” he said. “You are role models to youth around the globe, showing them that they, too, can achieve their dreams.”