Youth Symphony of Okanagan opens new Horizons

Penticton violinist Jasper Meiklejohn featured soloist for Sunday's Youth Symphony of the Okanagan concert.

Youth Symphony orchestra  violinist Jasper Meiklejohn was chosen to be the solist for their final concert of the year

Youth Symphony orchestra violinist Jasper Meiklejohn was chosen to be the solist for their final concert of the year

There is no better way Penticton violinist Jasper Meiklejohn could end his year with the Youth Symphony of the Okanagan.

“I have had lots of opportunities with the orchestra to play and as the co-concert master and in this final concert as soloist for the first time with this orchestra,” said Meiklejohn. “It is very exciting for me and because it is my graduating year, it is a nice way to end.”

On Sunday, the YSO presents Horizons, directed by Dennis Colpitts and Rosemary Thompson. Meiklejohn, who will be studying violin in university next year, was chosen as the featured soloist and will be performing the first movement of Mendelssohn’s violin concerto. It is a piece he has been working on for two years and impressed the directors with during an earlier session.

“The piece is considered by some to be the most perfect concerto for violin ever written. It is a very beautiful and melodic piece,” said Meiklejohn. “I think one of the things about Mendelssohn as a composer is he is often underestimated because people think his music is very superficial because it is very light. The thing about that is that it means the melodies in his music just soar in a way that the music of other composers doesn’t.”

The youth symphony has experienced dramatic growth this past season gaining 40 new members, Meiklejohn said it was exciting to be part of it.

He hopes to return next season and be invited to play at the 25th anniversary concert of the Okanagan Symphony. A relationship has been forged with the Okanagan Symphony and the youth orchestra to include concerts where they shared the stage.

The youth symphony public performances act as a fundraiser for the program, which they want to put back into it by acquiring professional instruments to loan the students.

The Penticton violinist said Thompson, who also directs the Okanagan Symphony, has been a great mentor for him.

“Her energy is very inspiring. The way that she can just get people engaged and want to do a good job and play the music well and have fun doing it is just really wonderful,” he said.

The Youth Symphony of the Okanagan concert takes place in Penticton on Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Shatford Centre. Tickets are $15 for general admission, $10 for seniors and youth and $5 for 12 and under. They are available at the Penticton Academy of Music or at the door on the day of the show. The youth symphony will also play in Vernon on May 4 and Kelowna on May 5 at 7:30 p.m.