Saint Andrews – It was a wonderful way to wrap up a weekend of celebrations for Canada’s 150th birthday – a free concert featuring the New Brunswick Youth Orchestra (NBYO), and the province’s own internationally acclaimed opera singer, Measha Brueggergosman.
The concert was staged in a substantial tent, placed on the grounds behind the Kingsbrae International Residence for the Arts (KIRA), and once the 400 seats were filled, people settled down on the grass in the sunshine to enjoy the music. For once, the weather cooperated on this long weekend.
The talented members of the NBYO – some as young as nine-years-old – wowed the audience with their enthusiastic performance, and there were several standing ovations.
During the first half, they played Tchaikovsky’s March Slave, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5, and J.P. Moncayo’s Huapango, then finished with the crowd singing Happy Birthday to Canada.
The second half began with selections from “West Side Story”, then Brueggergosman joined the orchestra on stage. She sang favourites such as “Deep River” and “He’s Got The Whole World”, and was joined by the Canada 150 Choir – an ensemble created especially for the NBYO’s Canada 150 celebrations in Ottawa and Montreal – as she sang “We Rise Again.”
Fredericton-born Brueggergosman recalled fond memories of earlier times in Saint Andrews, when she attended the Saint Andrews Arts Council’s choral workshops. She is a past winner of the Saint Andrews International Aria Competition.
The program culminated with the NBYO, the choir, and Brueggergosman performing “Sea to Sea” – a special piece of music commissioned by the NBYO for Canada’s 150th birthday, and written by one of today’s premier composers, Howard Shore.
Shore, who has written the musical scores for some of Hollywood’s best known films including “Lord of the Rings”, “Silence of the Lambs”, “Gangs of New York”, “Mrs Doubtfire” and “Spotlight”, has won three Academy Awards, four Grammys and two Golden Globes.
Ken McLeod, CEO of the NBYO, said the orchestra wanted to be part of Canada 150 and made applications to the Canadian Department of Heritage so they could commission an original piece of music for the celebrations. They will go on to perform the piece in Ottawa and Montreal.
The mission of the NBYO, which is one of the most innovative and distinguished youth orchestras in the country, is to inspire children and youth to achieve their full potential through learning and performing orchestral music.
The orchestra, conducted by Antonio Delgado, has performed in Carnegie Hall in New York, the Forbidden City Concert Hall in Beijing, China and, in 2011, won first place in the Symphony Orchestra category at the Summa Cum Laude International Youth Music Festival in Vienna.
Among the guests in attendance were Lieutenant-Governor Jocelyn Roy-Vienneau and her husband, Ron, New Brunswick Southwest MP Karen Ludwig and her husband Andrew and Minister of Tourism, Culture and Heritage John Ames.