Violinist and teacher Andrea Taylor

New conductors debut with Surrey Youth Orchestra

Sunday concert kicks off ambitious new season for Surrey Symphony Society

A Surrey Youth Orchestra concert this Sunday at Chandos Pattison Auditorium is called Sounds of the Season – logical enough for a program including such Christmas classics as Sleigh Ride, We Three Kings, For Unto Us A Child Is Born and Gordon Lightfoot’s Song For A Winter’s Night.

But it could just as well be called Sounds of the Future – it marks the public debut of directors who are already taking the Surrey Symphony Society’s three ensembles in exciting new directions while preserving a 39-year legacy of training young people, ranging from seven to 21, in the art of symphonic performance.

Holding with that legacy, the new director of the Junior Strings, the youngest orchestra, is teacher and professional violinist Andrea Taylor, daughter of Surrey Youth Orchestra founder, violinist and former conductor Lucille Lewis.

After an eight-year performing career, which included more than 2,000 live shows across North America, Taylor resettled in Surrey to raise her son and accepted a teaching position at Langley Community School, where she currently coaches group classes as well as teaching private violin lessons

The other new directors are both classical cellists with considerable professional experience.

Ben Goheen, who leads the Intermediate Orchestra (formerly the Surrey Strings) is a member of many ensembles including the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, the Vancouver Island Symphony Orchestra and such chamber groups as the Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra and his own Trio Amitie.

Joel Stobbe, new conductor the Surrey Youth Orchestra, trained in Germany and performed there and in France and Italy before becoming a founder-member of the Borealis String Quartet. He was principal cellist of the Vancouver Island Symphony from 2006 until this year, and currently teaches cello at the Langley Community Music School.

Among notable changes in the organization are the transition of the Surrey Strings into the Intermediate Orchestra, which now also includes wind instruments, making it an even more effective feeder group for the senior ensemble.

Also a highlight of Sunday’s concert – aside from ambitious, spirited performances of Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony and the overture to Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro – will be a rendition of O Holy Night, arranged by Canadian musician Mel Bowker, by more than 120 youth musicians.

In addition to members of all three orchestras, the massed ensemble will also include invited guests from youth music groups around Surrey and the Fraser Valley, among them the Semiahmoo Strings, directed by Carla Birston, former conductor of the Surrey Strings.

Among upcoming highlights of the Surrey Youth Orchestra’s 2014-15 season will be a performance of a new work commissioned by the society from emerging Canadian composer Jordan Nobles, whose work Simulacrum was nominated as classical composition of the year at the 2012 Western Canadian Music Awards.

The world premiere of the commissioned piece, Space and Time, will take place Feb. 28, 2015 at the Surrey City Hall Atrium and will be presented to the public free of charge.

The orchestras will also be presented on May 10 at the Chandos Pattison Auditorium for Spring Celebration 2015, an evening highlighting the annual orchestra scholarships and concerto competition winners.

Sounds of the Season will be performed at 7 p.m. this Sunday at the Chandos Pattison Auditorium, 10238 168 St. Surrey.

Tickets ($18, $12 youth, seniors and alumni) are available at the door or can be reserved by email at gm.surreysymphony@gmail.com

For more information about the Surrey Sympony Society and its orchestra and chamber music programs, visit www.surreysymphony.com

 

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