If you are worried about the millennium generation doing a good job of caring for the future, plan to attend the Okanagan Symphony Youth Orchestra performances around the Valley this weekend.
The group of 80 talented and dedicated musicians, ages 10 to 20, who hail from different parts of the Okanagan and Shuswap, gather together every Sunday afternoon in Kelowna for three hours to rehearse under the direction of co-conductors Rosemary Thomson and Dennis Colpitts.
“Each piece we do teaches them something different. We provide a rigorous orchestral education, and they pick it up so fast,” said Thomson, who is also music director of the Okanagan Symphony. “Also, we see the side benefits from being part of the orchestra – joy, pride, connection and knowing they are at the top of their game.”
To recruit for the orchestra, Thomson and Colpitts sit and listen to players in school bands, ask teachers to recommend developing musicians, and get referrals from private lesson teachers in the communities.
The OSYO is always looking for horn players and right now need additional oboe, bassoon and bass players, said Colpitts.
“These are the nicest kids to work with,” he said. “It is amazing to hear so many youthful performers responding so effectively all together. They really like each other and get along and they learn at the speed of lighting.”
The opportunity to play in the orchestra often leads to an on-going and continuing participation in music. Several of the musically experienced members of the youth orchestra are often invited to also play with the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra at their concerts, said Colpitts.
This weekend’s performances will feature traditional classical music, a newly written composition by a member of the orchestra, and the themes from the musical Oklahoma, among other pieces.
The OSYO performs at Vernon’s Trinity United Church, 3300 Alexis Park Dr. Saturday, Nov. 26 at 3 p.m. Tickets are available at the door, online at okanagansymphony.com or call 250-763-7544.