I went to a great concert yesterday! Forty–plus talented musicians—mostly young people, some adults, playing strings, woodwinds, brass, percussion—all parts of the orchestra. If you closed your eyes you would think that it was an adult ensemble: the sound is so confident, well tuned and balanced, with energetic and sophisticated phrasing. The sound filled Port Hope United Church.

This was not my first experience hearing the La Jeunesse Youth Orchestra. My daughter was one of the original members and still talks about the positive impact of being part of an exciting ensemble with musical peers and exceptional direction. From the beginning La Jeunesse Youth Orchestra performed with astonishing verve. The organization is now 15 years strong and the level of playing is extraordinary.

La Jeunesse Youth Orchestra (photo credit: www.ljyo.ca)
La Jeunesse Youth Orchestra
(photo credit: http://www.ljyo.ca)

As the concert unfolded, I felt proud to be part of a community that nurtures and highlights talent in so many ways. To see the number of adults performing with the youth, to hear soloists of such a high calibre, to hear the whole string section playing Twinke Twinkle Little Star was very moving. Deborah Henderson’s string ensemble joined forces with Laurie Mitchell’s string ensemble and audience members watched and listened as young violinists age 4 to 17 played together.

I went to the concert with SONG president Barb Henderson, and we brought one six-year-old member of our group. Hope asked questions all the way through the concert, wanting to know what each instrument was, “why did the girl put her hand in the french horn?”, “how did they play so fast?”, on and on. Hope said a number of times that she wants to learn to play the violin. She had never been in a church before and she commented on the stained glass windows and their reflection on the wall beside her.

I am excited about our instrument donation drive. We have begun to collect instruments and hope to begin our instrument program this coming September with Deborah Henderson as our string instructor. If you have ever seen Deborah with her string ensemble, you know the connection that she has with her students and with the music as she leads them. Exceptional pedagogy and love of music is always present.

I can’t wait for our young SONG members to have this experience.

– Posted by Marie