Youth orchestra ready for ‘rock star reception’ in Saint John
Wednesday, January 10, 2024
Youth orchestra ready for ‘rock star reception’ in Saint John
NBYO’s 100-member ensemble eager to play at Imperial Theatre on Jan. 14

New Brunswick’s internationally acclaimed youth orchestra will open their 2024 concert season with a performance at Atlantic Canada’s finest concert performance venue, the Imperial Theatre in Saint John.

The curtain rises for the New Brunswick Youth Orchestra (NBYO) concert at the Imperial Theatre on Sunday, Jan. 14 at 2 p.m. More than 100 of New Brunswick’s finest young musicians will enthrall audiences with a triumphant return to Saint John after last year’s stellar concert series, including a performance at the famed Carnegie Hall in New York City.

 “The Imperial Theatre is arguably both aesthetically and acoustically the finest concert performance venue in Atlantic Canada. The stage is large and accommodating for our large ensemble. The professional stage and technical crew at the Imperial Theatre are top notch, friendly, and always do their utmost to help the orchestra deliver peak performances,” said Don Matheson, director of community engagement for NBYO. “Saint John patrons are knowledgeable and enthusiastic music lovers… Several of our most memorable shows have been staged in Saint John at the Imperial.”

Ken MacLeod, President and CEO of the youth orchestra, said the Jan. 14 concert will be the first time New Brunswick audiences hear the new professional-level instruments purchased by the NBYO, thanks to the Dr. Mary and Mark Pedersen Instrument Bank.

“The orchestra feels like rock stars at the Imperial.  A beautiful hall, outstanding acoustics where every note is heard, and a proud, supportive audience amplifies the experience for each of the musicians,” MacLeod said. “The professional-level instruments for NBYO Principals will support their journey providing greater responsiveness, precision, and flexibility and a higher level of mastery, a more refined and polished performance.  That means a better sound overall within the orchestra, and an even better performance.”  

The planned repertoire for the Saint John show includes Batuque “Danza di Negri” (Dalla Suite Brasiliana “Reisado do Pastoreio”), L. Fernandez.; Concerto for Two Flutes in G., D. Cimarosa; Danzas del Ballet “La Estancia”, A. Ginastera; and Symphony No. 9 (From the New World/ de Nouveau Monde), Op. 95, A. Dvorak. Maestro Tony Delgado said having 100 young musicians on the stage will produce a musical dynamic that has to be heard to be appreciated.

“The audience can enjoy this beautiful sound in the context of a very complex, yet engaging and exciting repertoire. One hundred musicians is the largest-ever NBYO orchestra. The powerful sound is something that captivates audiences, but also the capacity of creating beautiful textures when playing softly and the remarkable contrasts that can be created when you have these numbers,” Delgado said. “But it's not just numbers, it is the hours and effort by the young musicians to be able to play harmoniously with so many instrumentalists.”

Saint John Mayor Donna Reardon will be the MC for the event, and welcome home 20 Saint John-area residents who are NBYO musicians this year.

“Saint John, historically, has been a leader in New Brunswick in developing young musicians who have auditioned and performed with the NBYO. This includes from strong school music programs and a wealth of talented private teachers throughout the community,” MacLeod said.

The Sistema NB Centre in Saint John is the second longest-serving and second largest Sistema group in New Brunswick – engaging more than 300 young people from the community. Many of the 20 Greater Saint John area members developed their musical excellence through participation in Sistema NB Saint John.

The orchestra started their 2023-24 season with performances to large audiences in Tracadie, Bathurst and Woodstock.

“The orchestra was warmly and enthusiastically welcomed in every community. We are grateful for such terrific attendance and generous community sponsorship. Our return to Saint John kicks off what will be an extraordinary 2024 for the NBYO. Our members, faculty, and staff, led by Maestro Delgado, can’t wait to treat Saint John to the NBYO in peak performance,” Matheson said.

Tickets are available at the Imperial Theatre box office, website or at