Orchestra North: Connecting the North through excellence in music

Orchestra North kicks off a week of music in Smithers with a faculty concert Sunday at 7 pm.

An intense week of music and fun will grace Smithers next week when Orchestra North presents its 2015 summer program!

Smithers has always been a hot bed for musicians of all genres—everything from Latin pop to classical—and it just seems to get better. However, being a small town can make some music, especially symphonic works, challenging. Smithers has amazing local musicians, but there simply aren’t enough people to make, say, a professional symphony orchestra. This is not unusual—“small town” and “symphony orchestra” are not usually mentioned in the same paragraph. However, this stereotype is in the process of being debunked. Orchestra North Summer Program (ONSP), now in its third season, pulls together passionate musicians of all levels and ages from northern communities for a week of intense but incredible music making, instructed by world renowned faculty.

Orchestra North begins with a concert tour of northern communities put on by the faculty and TAs. At the camp, musicians are broken into three levels of orchestras, the senior of which is a full symphony, this year playing some incredible repertoire including Beethoven’s piano concerto. The orchestras combine together for a few “mass orchestra” pieces. Participants also get the opportunity to work in chamber groups each day with musicians of similar levels, and are mentored one on one by the faculty. The chamber groups then each perform their work at different locations around the town—a super neat event called “music on main”. The week includes barbeques and parties, and ends with a final concert and a performance at the Smithers Midsummer Festival!

The idea of giving northern communities the opportunity to excel in orchestral music was originally the brainchild of Houston-raised violist, now director of the camp, Roxanne Dykstra. “Pursuing excellence in music gives us the opportunity to share with one another, and to tap into what it means to be human” said Dykstra when asked about the importance of northern music. “Orchestra North helps us create an identity of who we are in the north…by connecting our artists, we also connect our communities”. And that’s really what orchestra north is about—connecting northern communities by coming together to make some truly incredible music.

Stefan Bichlmaier, an Orchestra North alumnus and concerto-competition winner, says its one of the best music camps he’s ever been to. “It’s incredible that a small town can put on a programs of such high calibre. I guess it’s because everyone here really cares and they do their absolute best to make it the most amazing musical and community experience possible”. Kiri Daust, similarly an ONSP alumnus and this year a TA at ONSP also had a fantastic time at the camp. “Not only is it a wonderful place to really grow as a musician, it’s also super fun, and a place to unify northern BC through musical excellence. I’m so excited to get to work with the amazing faculty again this year, including world-renowned musicians Roxi Dykstra, Sebastian Ostertag, and Mark Ferris, the concert-master of the Vancouver opera orchestra!”

Orchestra North Summer Program will be held this year from June 28th to July 4th at the Northwest Community College in Smithers BC. Pre-camp faculty concerts will be held in Prince George, Vanderhoof, Terrace, and Smithers on June 23rd, 24th, 26th and 28th respectively—and there will also be an ONSP fundraiser concert on June 21st at the Old Church. To register and learn more, visit www.orchestranorth.com, or check out our Facebook page. We hope to see you this summer!

 

Contributed by Orchestra North.