Youth orchestra tuned up for home show Sunday afternoon
Saturday, January 13, 2018
Youth orchestra tuned up for home show Sunday afternoon
The New Brunswick Youth Orchestra performs with soprano Measha Brueggergosman on its Canada 150 tour last summer. The orchestra will be performing Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Imperial Theatre in Saint John. PHOTO: NEW BRUNSWICK YOUTH ORCHESTRA/PROVIDED


SAINT JOHN • Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, Drake, Kanye and Tchaikovsky?

While that last one may not be on everyone’s favourite playlist right now, members of the New Brunswick Youth Orchestra think that after this coming Sunday, people may change their minds.

According to symphony president Ken MacLeod, once you experience a full orchestra in person, the music becomes more appealing.

“To see an entire orchestra live is a great experience,” MacLeod said. “Of course there is what you hear, but there is also what you experience with the energy and the rhythm and the power of a full symphony orchestra.”

With Tchaikovsky featured in Sunday’s performance, 17-year-old violinist Gawon Suh said the power and emotion will be especially noticeable.

“It can be sad but triumphant at the same time. It’s kind of dramatic.”

MacLeod said that power makes a big impression, and it is one of the reasons why the orchestra’s audience size has grown from around 600 during 2006 to more than 40,000 last year.

As the name suggests, the musicians who make all that energy and power happen are young, between 12 and 22.

“I think I like it because classical music doesn’t have words,” said Suh, “so it is expressed in a way that you only feel. It’s like another language, and I think that’s really cool.”

While Suh may have always had a taste for classical, fellow violinist Heather Meisner, 22, came around to classical through her passion for the violin and playing in a group.

“If you are going to be playing a piece, it is good to listen to it a lot so you have it in your head. It just sort of branched out from there.

Her passion for playing in a group is shared by Suh and is a key part of the orchestra’s broader goal.

The group aims to use orchestral music to guide and inspire its young members to achieve their full potential by teaching teamwork, discipline and mastery of their instruments.

New Brunswick Youth Orchestra has a dedicated teaching faculty that provides mentors and specialists for group members on each instrument, and guest performers and conductors often run clinics for the kids.

The orchestra also does major tours that have lead to performances on big stages such as the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, Carnegie Hall in New York City and The Forbidden City Hall in Beijing.

But for many of the young musicians, shows closer to home, such as Sunday’s at the Imperial Theatre in Saint John, have the most significance.

Suh and Meisner are from Quispamsis, meaning the Imperial Theatre is their home crowd.

“It’s nice to have people in the audience that you know,” said Meisner.“It makes it more special.”

“Just more excitement and happiness that they get to see you,”said Suh.

Sunday’s performance starts at 2 p.m. Tickets are available at the theatre box office and website.

"It’s like another language, and I think that’s really cool." GAWON SUH