The New Brunswick Youth Orchestra has recently announced preliminary plans for its 2014-15 season, a year that will include a return visit to Vienna (as well as Munich and Prague), as the only Canadian orchestra in the Summa Cum Laude International Youth Music Competition; the world premiere of an orchestral work they have commissioned to mark the centennial of the beginning of World War I and its significance to Canada; and a year-long exploration of the meaning of the First World War for today’s young Canadians. “Our intent in commissioning an orchestral work is not to glorify war or revel in an allied triumph but to educate a current generation about the First World War,” says Ken MacLeod, president and CEO of the NBYO. “We want to honour veterans and their sacrifice and acknowledge what the war cost Canadian families and communities, and the impact the war had on Canada as a nation. We want the music to help raise awareness about the importance of tolerance, international understanding and peace.” The project will include create input and resources from many collaborators including the University of New Brunswick Gregg Centre for the Study of War and Society, the Canadian Music Centre, the New Brunswick Museum, the Canadian War Museum and Hemmings House Pictures.
OrKidstra, the Ottawa-based, Sistema-inspired music program operated by the Leading Note Foundation, has recently added a new stream to its programs, a stream that has strengthened the effective ties between OrKidstra and the Ottawa Youth Orchestra Academy. As a recent issue of their newsletter notes, “most of the 300+ OrKidstra students receive a scholarship that covers the cost of delivering the program, including instruments, music, lessons, rehearsals and performance opportunities; for their part, the students commit to attend – and be punctual for – weekly lessons and rehearsals, to practice daily and to demonstrate good citizenship and good musicianship. In 2012, a new commitment level, the Dedication Level, was created because it had become evident that several OrKidstra students were not only very talented young musicians, but that they were also very dedicated to learning their instrument: 5 students were given weekly private lessons throughout the summer as they prepared for September auditions at the Ottawa Youth Orchestra Academy. All were successful: Ngoc Kim, Declan, Gareth and Daniela joined the strings section of the Ottawa Junior Youth Orchestra and Peter became a member of the Senior Winds Ensemble. In 2013, 2 more students have joined the group and once again, all had a successful OYOA audition: Peter (13) is now principal clarinet of the Ottawa Junior Youth Orchestra with Patrick (16) rounding out the section on bass clarinet; Emily (11) has joined the Senior Strings Ensemble; Daniela (17), Declan (16), Gareth (15) and Ngoc Kim (17) garnered coveted positions in the Ottawa Youth Orchestra and performed their first concert with the group on November 24.” Congratulations, all!