This year — for the 22nd time — the Youth Symphony of the Okanagan will be playing established repertoire at their annual concerts. But they will also be doing something organinzers say may be unique among youth orchestras in Canada. They will be performing original compositions by four of their young musicians: Jung Ju Park 19, André van den Berg 16, Jasper Meiklejohn 15, and Yanik Fillion-Murphy, 16.
The young composers are excited, but modest about their accomplishments. Their friends either don’t know that they compose or don’t think it’s a big deal. Park’s friends are more impressed by the freestyle rap he does than they are by the orchestral pieces he composes. Still, he admits, “I really enjoy it when people play my music. I’m pretty sure everyone does.”
Also featured in the concert will be local young virtuosos Colleen and Alicia Venables playing Violin Concerto by I Raminsh and Piano Concerto in E-minor by Chopin, respectively. The sisters began playing with the YSO at only 7 and 10 years or age. Now 14 and 17 years old, they have already been playing major gigs such as the International Children’s Winter Games in Kelowna, and a May 2010 concert with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.
There are approximately 40 players in the YSO, and most are aged 11 to 25 years old. They are co-directed by two professional musicians: composer and YSO founder Imant Raminsh, along with teacher, Dennis Colpitts. On recents Saturdays they are busily rehearsing for Showcase Concert 2011, to be performed at month end in Vernon, Kelowna and Penticton. “Kids thrive on making music together,” asserts Raminsh.
The Penticton concert will take place on Feb. 27 at 3 p.m. at the Bethel Pentecostal Tabernacle. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors and youth and $5 for 12 and under. They are available at the Penticton Academy of Music office in Leir House or at the door on the day of the performance. For more information call 250-493-0475.