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Vancouver Youth Symphony Orchestra returns to Whistler

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Free Sunday concert at Millennium Place

Who: Vancouver Youth Symphony Orchestra

Where: Millennium Place

When: Sept. 29, 2 p.m.

Strings, please: a free concert from two sections of the Vancouver Youth Symphony Orchestra takes place in Whistler on Sunday, Sept. 29.

Approximately 180 musicians arrive in Whistler on Friday, Sept. 27 for their weekend visit, akin to a music camp.

The Intermediate and Senior Orchestras will perform Sunday in Whistler.

New general manager, Jullin O'Scheaur, says the show represents part of the VYSO’s continuing goal "to provide appropriate performance opportunities" for young musicians.

"The finale show is sort of like a closing to the camp," says Cathy MacEachern, who has helped organize the two-day music camp and weekend trip with other parents.

She booked space for the orchestras to rehearse at venues like the Garibaldi Lift Company, Tantalus Lodge, and the Westin Resort and Spa, and says the response from local businesses has been extremely supportive.

MacEachern’s daughter has played violin in the VYSO for the past eight seasons.

"She saw someone playing a violin in a church once and said ‘I want to play that’.

"So she started lessons, and it works really well for her to play with others as well as at private lessons," says MacEachern.

The VYSO has four ensembles: the Introductory String Orchestra (ages 8-11), the Junior String Orchestra (ages 10-13), the Intermediate Orchestra (junior/senior high school), and the Senior Orchestra (advanced musicians, up to age 21).

The Senior section perform Dvorak's New World Symphony, under the direction of conductor Jin Zhang. Zhang is also the music director and conductor for the New Westminster Symphony Orchestra, as well as conductor for the B.C. Chinese Music Association Ensemble.

Conductor Arthur Polson is in his 15th season as conductor and music director for the Senior Orchestra.

He has toured with the VYSO in Germany, Austria, and the Czech Republic, and in 1998 led the orchestra in performances at the Tchaikovsky Auditorium and Moscow’s Red Square, part of the World Youth Music Forum concert.

Polson recorded Symphonic Capers, Rhapsody on Rails, and Celebrations with the Senior Orchestra.

Parents of youth in the orchestras feel music can enrich life experiences for their children, as well their own.

"What attracts us to music, especially orchestral music, is that youth learn teamwork and co-operation through playing in ensembles," says VYSO board president Steve Finlay.

His two sons play the bass trombone and the cello for the orchestra.

"My wife and I both consider music to be very important. We don’t expect either of our sons to be professional musicians, but there’s room for enormous personal growth (through playing in an orchestra)," he adds.

The youth musicians make large time commitments to their music.

In addition to individual practice time, lessons and rehearsals, they perform at shows like the annual Christmas concert, this year at the Massey Theatre in New Westminster on Dec. 14.

For more information about the Whistler show at Millennium Place call 604-935-8410.

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