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Youth orchestra performing throughout the Okanagan

The Okanagan Symphony Youth Orchestra is performing in Vernon, Kelowna and Penticton over the weekend
The Okanagan Symphony Youth Orchestra performed at the Kelowna ReStore for Habitat for Humanity’s holiday campaign video in October 2022. (Photo/Habitat for Humanity)

The Okanagan Symphony Youth (OSYO) is ready to bring its talented musicians to Okanagan stages during its fall concert series.

The OSYO is performing in Vernon Saturday, Nov. 26, at Trinity Valley Church at 3 p.m.; in Penticton Sunday, Nov. 27 at the Cleland Community Theatre at 2 p.m.; and in Kelowna Nov. 27 at First Lutheran Church at 7 p.m.

The OSYO is made up of 50 youth from the Okanagan, led by co-conductors Dennis Colpitts and Rosemary Thomson. The OSYO provides a rigorous orchestra education and offers its young players opportunities for musical growth, including coaching and mentoring by members of their professional counterpart, the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra (OSO), concerto performances, a composition training program and annual side-by-side concerts with the OSO.

Thomson has the special pleasure in this concert of conducting her son, Sam Shea, in a movement from the Kabalevsky Chello Concerto No. 1. Oboist Dominic Calderer and bassoonist Julian Lao are also featured as soloists in movements from Vaughan Williams’ Oboe Concerto and Vivaldi’s Bassoon Concerto in E Minor, respectively.

Lao is the first bassoon soloist to ever perform with the OSYO.

Meredith Allen is participating in the OSYO’s student composition program. Her work, Cathedral of Saint Mary of Toledo, is a musical depiction of a Spanish cathedral written in five short melodic sections, each interwoven with a three-note recurring theme. The piece was the culmination of Allen’s participation in last season’s composition program and was work-shopped in April at the OSO’s composer reading session.

Other works by Borodin, Sibelius and Kalinnikov round out the weekend’s program.

In other OSYO news, the orchestra teamed up with Habitat for Humanity for a show at the ReStore in Kelowna. Arranged in the spacious ReStore on Enterprise Drive, the OSYO was video-recorded in October performing the Farandole for Habitat’s seasonal giving campaign video, The Key of Possibility, putting the youth orchestra – now dubbed the ReStorchestra – on a national stage. The ReStore accepts and resells donations of new and used furniture, appliances, decor and home improvement building materials. All profits fund Habitat for Humanity, which helps families attain affordable home ownership.

“This holiday we are showcasing this goal through the narrative of music, and just like an orchestra, Habitat for Humanity requires people coming together to create something special,” said Jack Shaw, director of marketing and digital strategy for Habitat for Humanity Canada.

The Farandole is an exciting piece with driving bass, nimble winds and dancing strings that put the young musicians through their paces, but they rose to the occasion and delivered a top-tier performance.

Tickets for this and all other OSYO concerts can be purchased through the OSO website, or at the door. Adult tickets are $20, seniors are $15 and students are $10.

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Brendan Shykora
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Brendan Shykora

About the Author: Brendan Shykora

I started as a carrier at the age of 8. In 2019 graduated from the Master of Journalism program at Carleton University.
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