Okanagan Symphony Youth Orchestra celebrates its 25th anniversary

The concert in Vernon takes place May 4 at 7:30p.m. at Trinity United Church.

The Okanagan Symphony Youth Orchestra is celebrating its 25th anniversary with concerts in Penticton, Kelowna and Vernon during the first weekend of May.

Founded by world-renowned composer Imant Raminsh, the orchestra is comprised of 75 youth ages 10 to 20-plus from all parts of the Okanagan Valley. They attend weekly rehearsals in Kelowna from September through May.

The orchestra came under the umbrella of the OSO two years ago and is now co-directed by Rosemary Thomson, music director of the OSO, and retired teacher Dennis Colpitts, conductor of Kelowna City Band, Kelowna International Choir and performer in many musical groups, including the OSO. Their shared passion is to promote the importance of music education at the highest level, especially to our youth, and raise the awareness of all artistic groups in our community.

A component of the OSYO program is the inclusion of a composition element guided by Raminsh, which gives students an opportunity to compose a work and have it performed by the orchestra.

“We are also able to enhance our students’ musical growth by providing workshops and sectionals with OSO professionals, as well as master classes with guest soloists” said Thomson.

“A side-by-side concert series with the OSO is a highlight for our young players, many of whom take private instruction from our professionals.”

Alumni have been invited to perform Wagner’s Dei Meistersinger Overture during the last concert of the weekend.

“There have been many excellent musicians that have gone through the OSYO these last 25 years, and we are looking forward to having them join us on the stage,” said Colpitts.

Among them is Nicholas Denton, a cellist currently completing the first year of his bachelor’s degree at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

Originally from Kelowna, Denton began his studies at age seven at the Vernon Community Music School.

The OSYO concert will include In Cymbalis Benesonatibus, a commissioned work for the 25th anniversary by Raminsh, Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, student compositions and Saint-Saens’ Cello Concerto No. 1 in A Minor.

The concert in Vernon takes place May 4 at 7:30p.m. at Trinity United Church.

Tickets available from OSYO Musicians, at the door and the Okanagan Symphony Office, 865 Bernard Ave., Kelowna.

Adults are $15, seniors, alumni and students are $10.00 and children 12 and under are $5.