It’s about showcasing up-and-coming classical talent.
That’s the modus operandi of the Okanagan Symphony Youth Orchestra annual spring concert, which hits Vernon May 5 and Penticton and Kelowna May 6.
With roots in the late ’80s, the OSYO was founded by local composer Imant Raminsh and now features 80 students from Keremeos to White Lake.
“The students always have the opportunity to be featured as soloists and composers on our concerts. This concert, both of our soloists on the program in Vernon are from Vernon and they are both graduating this year to pursue music at the post-secondary level,” said Rosemary Thomson, music director.
Vernon talent Chris Dlouhy has played both violin and clarinet in the youth orchestra and will perform the second movement of the Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 3. Dlouhy, a nationally ranked fencer, also plans to study piano next year at the University of Victoria.
Fellow Vernon product Libby Wise is performing the first movement of the Mozart Violin Concerto No. 5. Wise is also a pianist and will pursue music at the University of Ottawa in the fall. She currently studies at the Vernon Community Music School.
Under the direction of Dennis Colpitts and Thomson, the OSYO fell under the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra in 2012.
“These students learn at the speed of lightning,” said Colpitts, co-director. “We are really looking forward to sharing their wonderful talents on stage next week.”
The OSYO provides a rigorous orchestral education for advanced music students in the Okanagan.
As part of the program, students have the opportunity to grace the stage alongside OSO greats in the Masterworks series and are featured as concerto soloists in the OSYO annual spring and fall offerings. The spring show will also feature works by students Joel Casson and Leif Jack.
“One of the special opportunities for these students is the chance to compose for orchestra and to hear their pieces performed,” Thomson said. “We are the only youth orchestra in the country to offer this and we have heard some magical compositions over the years.”
And, to cap off the performance, students will ring in Antonin Dvorak’s Symphony No. 8.
“It would be wonderful if we could really pack the hall to support these wonderful students,” Thomson said.
The OSYO will rock Vernon’s Trinity United Church May 5 at 3 p.m., Penticton’s Cleland Theatre May 6 at 2 p.m. and Kelowna’s First Lutheran Church May 6 at 7 p.m. Tickets are available through online at www.okanagansymphony.com or at the door. All seating is general admission and costs $15 adult, $10 students and seniors, $5 for children 12-and-under and under two are free.