Prince George Symphony Orchestra: Music in the North
The Prince George Symphony Orchestra is currently enjoying spectacular growth. Its final concert of 2006-2007, dedicated to the 50th anniversary of the Canada Council, assembled more than 220 choral singers from northern British Columbia. It drew a record attendance, 70 new members and a new sponsor for the next season - all in all, a resounding success.
Convinced that music can breathe life into a community, the Orchestra planned a tour of isolated northern communities in British Columbia.
“Some northern communities have a limited amount of classical musical culture, which often exhibits itself in the form of a church or community choir and a few folks who can play a musical instrument. There are children who have never actually seen an orchestral instrument. Those children and the people in those communities deserve to experience live orchestral music.”
To reach these communities, the Orchestra has commissioned a work from local composer Simon Cole. A Northern Quest is a story set in northern Canada. The themes include beauty, grandeur, the balance of nature, the interconnectedness of all things, and the need to look inside ourselves for enlightenment. The story depicts a land where all things are bound together in harmony by a common musical thread or song. The work lends itself well to touring since it requires only a small orchestra and can be presented in local schools.
Simon Cole wrote the soprano narrative specifically for Marion Newman, a First Nations soprano from Bella Coola who is a sought-after Canadian soloist. Ms. Newman is excited about this project and the opportunity to share this work with First Nations communities.
With the support of the Canada Council, among other partners, the Orchestra planned to give five public concerts (May 2008) in First Nations communities from Prince George to Prince Rupert, and five in the schools of these regions. A teacher's guide will also be developed for teachers and their students.