AIDAN COX THE VICTORIA STAR
Students from schools in the Victoria County region have been treated to a live chamber orchestra performance.
The New Brunswick Youth Orchestra stopped at John Caldwell School on Oct. 13 for a 29-member chamber orchestra performance in front of students from Donald Fraser Memorial School, Andover Elementary School and John Caldwell School.
The event, which was divided into two separate 50-minute performances, was part of the youth orchestra’s “Oh Canada: A Young 150!” tour in celebration of Canada 150.
Marie-Pier Arseneau, a premier violinist with the New Brunswick Youth Orchestra, plays the violin during performance of “Sea to Sea.” PHOTO: AIDAN COX/THE VICTORIA STAR
More than 100 students filled John Caldwell School’s gymnasium as the orchestra members performed O Canada, along with Sea to Sea, a musical score the orchestra commissioned from Howard Shore, an Academy Award-winning Canadian composer well-known for composing the soundtrack to The Lord of the Rings films. The chamber orchestra also performed Libertango, a song by the Argentine composer Astor Piazzolla.
Other artwork the orchestra commissioned included an essay written by former New Brunswick Lieutenant-Governor Herménégilde Chiasson, which reflects on the art that has shaped Canada since Confederation.
Visual art by Tobique First Nation artist Natalie Sappier, which explores issues faced by indigenous Canadians, was also displayed and discussed during intermissions in the performances.
Mariam Mesbah, director of marketing and communications with the orchestra, said the visit to John Caldwell was part of the organization’s effort to reach out to students in order to expose them to art and orchestral music.
“We work with schools across the province, travelling and providing this type of thing in various schools as part of a curriculum where teachers in some of these classrooms have been teaching about the art,” Mesbah said. “So that’s why we’re here and that’s how that came about.”
A choir comprising singers from local choirs and groups from the region performed alongside members of the orchestra, who range in age from 12 to the early 20s, Mesbah said.
Gabe Merrill and Alyssa Sullivan of John Caldwell School’s Grade 5 class performed in the choir, whose members sang alongside musicians with the New Brunswick Youth Orchestra. PHOTO: AIDAN COX/THE VICTORIA STAR
She said the orchestra’s visit to schools offers a unique and valuable opportunity for students to be exposed to orchestral music.
“It’s a real education for these kids, not only to see the artwork and talk about the Canadian components that we were part of through the commissions, but I think for them to see a live orchestra, for them to hear what it sounds like and to see on ground level other young people playing instruments is really important,”Mesbah said.
Jonathan Ryu, violinist with the New Brunswick Youth Orchestra, plays the violin during the performance of “Sea to Sea,” composed by Canadian composer Howard Shore. The 29-member orchestra performed at John Caldwell School on Oct. 13 in front of students from Donald Fraser Memorial School, Andover Elementary School and John Caldwell School. PHOTO: AIDAN COX/THE VICTORIA STAR
“It’s a different type of education, but it does show kids the value of music. It shows them the value of discipline and hard work.”
Scott Mulherin, elementary music teacher at John Caldwell, said he helped arrange the visit by the orchestra, adding that it’s rare for many students in the Grand Falls area to get the chance to see orchestral music performed live.
Zoë LeBlanc, French horn player with the New Brunswick Youth Orchestra, performs as part of the chamber orchestra Oct. 13. PHOTO: AIDAN COX/THE VICTORIA STAR
“I think it [the value of seeing an orchestral performance] is almost immeasurable because for some of these kids; this will be their only chance to see a live orchestra and so for them to have this opportunity is amazing,” Mulherin said.
“Some of these kids don’t even get out of Grand Falls, so to have this orchestra come to the school for them is something they’ll never forget.”
Antonio Delgado, conductor with the New Brunswick Youth Orchestra, leads the musicians during their performance. PHOTO: AIDAN COX/THE VICTORIA STAR
The orchestra kicked off its province-wide tour with a subsequent performance in Woodstock on Oct. 15. The orchestra will move on to perform in Caraquet on Nov. 17 and 19; Saint John on Jan. 12 and 14; Moncton on Feb. 9 and 11p; and Fredericton on March 23 and 25. More information about the organization can be found at www.nbyocanada150.ca.