KRIS MCDAVID -- MIRAMICHI LEADER
Some of the province’s top young virtuosos will be in the city next weekend to mark the official kick-off to their upcoming season.
The New Brunswick Youth Orchestra, under the direction of conductor Antonio Delgado, will take the stage at the James M. Hill Memorial High School Theatre on Sunday, Oct. 14 at 2 p.m.
Don Matheson, the NBYO’s chief operating officer, said the organization is thrilled to be launching its 2018-19 program in Miramichi, a city he said he’s certain is on the cusp of establishing itself as a steady pipeline for some of the orchestra’s future stars.
For anybody who hasn’t yet had an opportunity to see the New Brunswick Youth Orchestra - which is a full-scale orchestra featuring 90 of talented, up-and-coming musicians hailing from around the province - live in concert, Matheson said it’s an experience not to be missed.
“We promise three things for every concert patron,” he said. “You will be moved, you will be amazed, and you will be N.B. proud.”
Tickets are on sale for $20 or $10 for students and can be purchased at Brookdale Flower Shop in Newcastle or Scott’s Pharmasave in Chatham. Tickets will also be available at the door, subject to availability.
It’s been roughly three years, meanwhile, since Miramichi was selected as a new location for the NBYO’s Sistema New Brunswick free, after-school classical music training program.
In that short amount of time, Sistema has provided dozens of local children with an opportunity to learn from world-class instructors and, ultimately, connect then to an experience many of them might not have otherwise had the opportunity to partake in.
So for those 50 or so students who have been honing their skills for 15 hours (weekly) after school at King Street Elementary School, being able to audition for the NBYO is something many of them are already aspiring to.
And based on the intel he’s been getting from Carlos Armao, Sistema NB’s lead instructor in Miramichi, it’s a goal that’s well within reach.
“We’re mighty proud of the family and community impact we’ve already seen as a result of establishing our Sistema program in Miramichi back in January 2016,” he said.
“I [recently] attended the Catholic Health Association of New Brunswick conference at the Rodd Miramichi River Hotel, where a combined Miramichi and Richibucto Sistema N.B. ensemble wowed conference attendees with their performance.”
Over 50 per cent of the provincial youth orchestra’s current membership had their musical beginnings through the Sistema program. The Miramichi program is supported through annual funding, $20,000 each, from the City of Miramichi and the Miramichi Big Brothers Big Sisters/Boys and Girls Club.
The provincial government is also setting aside $110,000 every year for the Miramichi training centre, with other local organizations chipping in funding as well, a list that includes the Miramichi Kinsmen Club, local Rotary clubs and the Highland Society of New Brunswick at Miramichi.
Sistema’s programming has been spreading steadily throughout New Brunswick since it was established here back in 2009 with the help of the youth orchestra.
Today, Sistema New Brunswick serves more than 1,200 children with centres in Miramichi, Moncton, Fredericton, Saint John, Tracadie, Richibucto, Edmundston, Elsipogtog First Nation and the Tobique First Nation.
“The lives of hundreds of children are being transformed by miraculous outcomes,” Matheson said.“We are grateful for the generous support of families and communities across the province.”
Sistema students from Miramichi, Tracadie, Richibucto and Elsipogtog will all be in attendance for the Oct. 14 debut concert.
Matheson also noted that the New Brunswick Youth Orchestra is looking to get in touch with any families that may be open to billeting members of the youth orchestra during their overnight stays in the city on Oct. 12-13.
Billet hosts would be asked to provide transportation for pairs of orchestra members from the rehearsal venue at James M. Hill to their respective homes, as well being able to provide breakfast Friday, Saturday and Sunday morning.
Matheson said that any upstanding families who would be willing to open up their homes to these young musicians - which would be assigned in pairs to each household - would be reserved complimentary tickets to Sunday’s show.
He said it’s a rewarding experience, for both the host families as well as the musicians who get to know them over the course of their stay.
Anybody who’s interested is asked to contact Matheson by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or phoning (506) 866-7920.
For more details on the New Brunswick Youth Orchestra, visit nbyo-ojnb.com.