The YONA-Sistema students got a major dose of encouragement recently, as they made their first “field trip” to the Francis Winspear Centre for Music. It was an eye and ear-opening experience as the students, as well as the Teaching Artists, were led on “The Phantom of the Winspear” tour, which took them to many places in the hall that the public doesn’t usually see, and finishing up on the stage of Enmax Hall – the main performance chamber. They also got up and close and personal with the mammoth Davis Concert Organ.
After their tour, the YONA-Sistema children got to sit in on a rehearsal of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra! After a couple of weeks working with their real violins, to see all the instruments of the orchestra was a real treat. While they paid particular attention to their fellow violinists, the students also marveled at the harp, percussion, double basses, and woodwinds and brass. Guest conductor Mei-Ann Chen welcomed the children warmly, then led the orchestra through the exciting final movement of Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade.
Experiences like this can be great motivators for children, and to know that there are others who have to practice hard on their instruments lets them know they’re not alone. So as they head back to Mother Teresa to continue to grow as musicians, they have role models like the musicians of the ESO to serve as inspiration and aspiration. The day is not far off when this talented group of students will make their own music from the stage of the Winspear Centre.
post and photos by D.T. Baker
Associate Director, Educational Outreach