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Youth symphony brings music to students with summer program

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Members of the Windsor Symphony Youth Orchestra inspired the next generation of musicians with a summer concert series at local schools that wrapped up Friday afternoon.

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The series of summer performances is led by members of the youth orchestra. In a series of nine performances at local Summer Learning programs, the small groups showcased their skills and answered questions about their skills as musicians.

“We’ve been at all of the local Summer Learning programs and perform for an hour for the kids and each one of them,” said Rebecca Ng, manager of education and outreach for the Windsor Symphony Orchestra. “It’s been really fun.”

The youth orchestra is composed of members aged 13 to 18 (although there is a junior orchestra for younger musicians as well), with 35 members last year. The summer program included 27 members who alternated performances.

The students are super warm and friendly and they’ve been so appreciative

This year, Ng said the youth orchestra members were so excited to be back and playing together in-person they created the summer program idea to keep playing together and applied for sponsorships and grants to make it happen.

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Jason Le, a member of the Windsor Symphony Orchestra's youth program plays the harp during a performance at West Gate Public School in Windsor on Friday, July 22, 2022.
Jason Le, a member of the Windsor Symphony Orchestra’s youth program plays the harp during a performance at West Gate Public School in Windsor on Friday, July 22, 2022. Photo by Dan Janisse /Windsor Star

Being a youth member-led summer program, musicians selected and arranged their own music as necessary. They also tried to choose pieces their audience would enjoy: At Friday’s performance, the Leonard Cohen classic “Hallelujah” was a big hit with kids familiar with the classic from the movie Shrek.

“They finish with All You Need Is Love from the Beatles, which is super cute,” Ng said.

And the audience had plenty of questions for the performers about everything from how hard it was to learn their instruments to the harp played by a youth orchestra member.

The program is sponsored by the University of Windsor’s Faculty of Education, the Greater Essex County District school board and the Windsor Symphony Orchestra.

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“The students are super warm and friendly and they’ve been so appreciative. They just say the sweetest, kindest things,” Ng said. “To watch has been really phenomenal, to see our kids working so hard to present their skills and their abilities to younger children.”

Avery Ng, a member of the Windsor Symphony Orchestra's youth program plays the violin during a performance at West Gate Public School in Windsor on Friday, July 22, 2022.
Avery Ng, a member of the Windsor Symphony Orchestra’s youth program plays the violin during a performance at West Gate Public School in Windsor on Friday, July 22, 2022. Photo by Dan Janisse /Windsor Star

Friday’s performance at West Gate Public School was the final in a series of nine school performances, in addition to community performances that included Art in the Park and Woofaro in Amherstburg.

Avery Ng and Kasey Scoboria are two of the youth orchestra members who spearheaded the program, and said it’s been great seeing the positive reaction from both students and the community.

“We really aimed (for) pieces that are not too complicated and we wanted to be accessible,” Avery said.

“I think we picked some of the most famous pieces of music, it’s been received quite well by schools and everyone’s enjoyed them so far.”

The program is part of ongoing outreach and education in the community, hopefully sharing a love of music with the next young generation of musicians.

“I would love to have younger students start being interested in violin, or whatever instrument they’re interested in,” Kasey said.

ksaylors@postmedia.com

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Members of the Windsor Symphony Orchestra's youth program perform at West Gate Public School in Windsor on Friday, July 22, 2022.
Members of the Windsor Symphony Orchestra’s youth program perform at West Gate Public School in Windsor on Friday, July 22, 2022. Photo by Dan Janisse /Windsor Star
Members of the Windsor Symphony Orchestra's youth program perform at West Gate Public School in Windsor on Friday, July 22, 2022.
Members of the Windsor Symphony Orchestra’s youth program perform at West Gate Public School in Windsor on Friday, July 22, 2022. Photo by Dan Janisse /Windsor Star

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