A special musical treat awaited a packed house at the Cleland Theatre Saturday with the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra and special guests for the Ringing in the Season concert. Mark Brett/Western News

The Okanagan Symphony Youth Orchestra returns with winter concert

The performance will include a tribute to Amanda Todd

The first Okanagan Symphony Youth Orchestra Winter Concert of the 2018/2019 season has arrived.

OSYO, a a rigorous orchestral training program for youth between the ages of 10 and early 20s. is celebrating their 30th anniversary this year. The orchestra is comprised of 80 students representing the length of the Okanagan Valley, from Salmon Arm to Osoyoos.

The season includes weekly rehearsals, overnight rehearsal camp in September, concert weekends performing in Vernon, Penticton and Kelowna in November and May, and a special Side-by-Side show with the OSO as part of Chase Wines Masterworks Series in February.

The OSYO is co-conducted by Dennis Colpitts and OSO Music Director Rosemary Thomson, with assistant coach Emily Traversy and professional coaches from the OSO.

The upcoming Winter concert will feature several shorter orchestral works with a wide variety of styles. This is the best way to introduce playing in an orchestra to our newest members.

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Glinka’s Russlan und Ludmilla Overture is a wonderful example of a festive overture with lots of orchestral colours and focus on the different sections of the orchestra. It is currently the theme song for the popular Anna Ferris comedy, Mom.

Amanda Todd was a 15-year-old girl in Port Coquitlam who loved singing and who dreamed of one day performing on the big stage. She tragically took her own life on Oct. 10, 2012 after years of harassment and bullying at school and online. Before her death Todd posted a video on YouTube, using flashcards to share her story and to speak out against bullying.

When composer Jocelyn Morlock was commissioned by the National Arts Centre Orchestra to compose the music for My Name is Amanda Todd, she met with Todd’s mother Carol. “Amanda’s message of hope, empathy, and tolerance has since caused a worldwide groundswell of support and awareness of bullying, cyber abuse and internet safety”, Morlock said.

RELATED: OSO honours Remembrance Day weekend with Requiem

Morlock expresses the forceful nature of social media throughout the composition. “Musically, the opening draws first on overwhelming sorrow, which grows into a furtive, somewhat frenzied negative energy”, Morlock said. “I then use almost the same musical material and gradually modify it to create increasingly powerful, positive music, like the proliferation of positive energy that a large group of people can create together through many small actions.”

Leif Jack is the OSYO tuba player. He is working on completing a full symphony for orchestra. The finale of his Symphony No. 1 is the third movement that the OSYO has performed and shows a remarkable sophistication for this high school student composer. Jack will compose one more movement for the spring concert and then we will have performed the entire symphony. He plans to study composition at the post-secondary level.

Charlotte Cruse will perform two movements of the Ferdinand David Trombone Concertino. It is rare to hear the trombone front and centre as the concerto soloist, and Cruse does a wonderful job of showcasing this golden-toned instrument.

And finally, in the OSYO shows they always like to play some repertoire from the contemporary popular world of music, especially from film music repertoire. The students are very excited to perform three movements from John Williams’ iconic score from the very popular Star Wars franchise.

The OSYO will perform:

  • Trinity United Church, Vernon – Saturday, Nov. 24 at 3 p.m.
  • Cleland Theatre, Penticton – Sunday, Nov. 25 at 2 p.m.
  • First Lutheran Church, Kelowna – Sunday, Nov 25 at 7 p.m.

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