While you’re enjoying the performance of the “Carmen Suite for Strings and Five Percussion” by the Abbotsford Youth Orchestra (AYO) this Saturday evening, consider where this musical experience has taken some of the group’s alumni.
There’s Matthew Davies, currently a violist with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, and Nabil Fadai, who has a PhD in Mathematics from Oxford University.
Calvin Dyck, AYO founder/director and violin instructor with the Abbotsford Community Music School, says other accomplished graduates have gone on to study at UBC, universities in Toronto, Los Angeles and Victoria, as well as the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. One more recent student is on scholarship at the Glenn Gould Conservatory in Toronto, while another is on scholarship at Biola University in California.
“Then there are many who are now music teachers in the area, are directing choirs or are leaders in other areas,” Dyck says.
Musical ‘wow’ factor in effect
Audience members will be impressed by the musicianship on display from current members of the orchestra, who perform Oct. 27 at the Matsqui Centennial Auditorium (City Hall).
“We have a combination of young amateur musicians and professionals, who serve in a sort of mentorship role,” Dyck adds. “This formula raises the bar for the youth. It’s inspiring to see young people perform at this high level.”
The concert features such classics as Pachebel’s “Canon” and “Humoresque” by Dvorak, a taste of Mozart and the world premiere of a three-movement string concerto composed by ACMS violin teacher Estanislau (Stan) Gubiotti.
The special arrangement of Bizet’s “Carmen” by Russian composer Rodion Shchedrin uses themes from the original, but is reimagined for strings and five percussionists, who will play 27 different instruments during the piece.
A-ha! moment for future orchestra director
Dyck founded the AYO in 2000 after one of his top solo violin students quit a week after winning a top music festival award. He designed the audition-based group to not only be musically challenging, but to provide students with a social component.
“I saw the need to give youth an outlet,” he recalls. “Especially in the teenage years, they want to be with their friends.”
Outside of rehearsals and concerts, the group does everything from trooping around to the corn maze to going bowling together. They also take their music on the road – they’ve visited all 10 provinces over the years and are planning a trip to China during spring break 2020, for which this fall concert is a fundraiser.
Tickets to the concert are $22 and $20, available at King’s Music, House of James or online at Eventbrite. If you’d like more information on how to get involved with the orchestra or music school, visit abbotsfordmusic.com. or follow them on Facebook.