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This article was published 26/6/2017 (1456 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A group of local musicians will take their talents from coast to coast to coast this summer with the National Youth Orchestra.
Alexander Moroz, Miles Thomsen, Kristy Tucker and John Sellick will perform with the orchestra as it embarks on the country wide Edges of Canada tour, making stops in the Yukon, P.E.I. and here in Winnipeg this August.
The NYO is an auditioned ensemble of 16- to 28-year-olds that spends about three weeks in rehearsals at Wilfrid Laurier University before heading on tour for two months.
The Edges of Canada tour is a signature Canada 150 project and this year’s program will feature a multidisciplinary commissioned work from Michael Greyeyes, Falen Johnson, Juliet Palmer, and Ian Cusson. Titled the Unsilent Project, the piece is a collaboration between Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists and honours the poetry of the late Zaccheus Jackson. The orchestra has also commissioned a piece from composer John Burge, titled Four Seasons of the Canadian Flag, that will be performed alongside a traditional classical repertoire.
Thomsen, a 24-year-old trumpet player from Richmond West, said this year’s cross-country tour presents an interesting learning opportunity for the musicians involved.
"There’s a lot about this year’s tour specifically that I’m excited to learn from," Thomsen said. "Mainly the Unsilent Project, which is multiple collaborations of very large scale, and the amount of learning that’s going to be happening for all of us participating will be important in a lot of ways."
According to the NYO, the Unsilent Project blends Indigenous creation protocols with classical music processes and was inspired by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Thomsen said he hasn’t had many opportunities to learn about residential schools or the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the chance to bring a message of healing and empowerment to communities across Canada is both a privilege and a responsibility.
"It’s important and I want to know this stuff, and I need to know this stuff, so I’m looking forward to having the opportunity to experience some connecting the dots and the bridging of some gaps through this summer," Thomsen said. "I want to make sure that I’m doing everything I can to make it as impactful and meaningful as it can be because this is an unprecedented thing and it’s a very big deal."
Tucker, a 24-year-old bassoon player from Whyte Ridge, said she is also looking forward to visiting a number of communities that haven’t typically been part of NYO tours in the past.
"I think it’s great that there’s these grants going around to celebrate the 150 and giving these organizations a chance to show what our culture is and bring that across Canada," Tucker said.
"A lot of people back home are always curious as to why it never stops there and it’s really great that we get to go to the Yukon and the Maritime provinces because they’re also places that don’t get the advantages that being from Ontario or Quebec provides."
The National Youth Orchestra, joined by the National Youth Choir, will play the Centennial Concert Hall on Aug. 3 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are free and seating is general admission. Tickets can be reserved through the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra.
Danielle Da Silva
Danielle Da Silva is a general assignment reporter.