This information is for new and returning members of all three KYO ensembles: the Kingston Youth Orchestra, Youth Strings and A-Strings.
Welcome back to the Kingston Youth Orchestras. As always, we believe that young people need to continue to develop musical skills and have meaningful artistic experiences. We will offer our three ensembles this year but with some important changes due to COVID-19.
Normally we would hold live auditions for all participants. This year returning members don’t need to audition and new members will audition by video submission or by phone interview. Most returning members will remain in the orchestra that they were in last year however some will move up say from A-Strings to Youth Strings or Youth Strings to Youth Orchestra. String players who want to change levels will have a phone conversation with Danielle Lennon to determine if a level change is appropriate at this time. All members are required to complete and return the registration form with deposit.
We would normally ask for full payment of fees upon registration. This year we are asking for only a deposit upon registration. If the status of the health crisis changes and we are able to play together we will re-register and charge a reduced prorated fee for the remainder of the season. That being said, we will continue to work hard to deliver a valuable first-rate orchestral program under the limitations that we currently face, therefore, if you wish to pay more than the deposit or your full tuition, as you are able, that payment would be welcome and help secure the long-term sustainability of the KYO. Please note that KYO fees are subsidized by the KSA and as a result are some of the lowest youth orchestra fees in Canada.
We would normally start live rehearsals in September. This year we anticipate a virtual start-up with three potential phases. Phase 1 will consist of repertoire distribution via email and weekly rehearsal plans via email, as well as Zoom meetings, workshops, team building exercises and masterclasses. The first phase will focus on skill development and repertoire development along with fostering a sense of community (all be it virtual) with our members. Phase 1 will set us up for a time when we can come together and make music. We encourage all interested members to register in September so they can begin learning the repertoire. Phase 2 will add small group rehearsals, sectionals and chamber music. It is very possible that we can include some aspects of Phase 2 in the fall. We will take our lead from health professionals, the success of school re-openings and consultation with you. Phase 3 will look more like normal rehearsals and concerts and will be predicated on a fundamental change in the health crisis like a vaccine. At this point we don’t know when we will get to Phase 3 – we hope soon!
Normally graduates and international members move on and away. One positive of this year is that KYO members that have graduated or moved can stay with us virtually. We do have projects that we have not completed from last year, especially the world premiere of our commissioned piece Rescue. We would love for you to remain in our group and participate in this and possibly other projects that we take on this year, as your schedule permits.
Normally our first get together is at our first rehearsal. This year, if Provincial regulations permit, and as our individual comfort level permits, we hope to have a live outdoor, socially distanced, meeting at a local park to discuss our plans in person. More information on this will come at a later date but we are very tentatively looking at Saturday, September 19, time and location TBA.
This year, like every year, KYO will continue to foster a love of music and develop orchestral skills for our community of young musicians. Virtual learning has limitations, but it also offers some unique opportunities which we will explore. All members will receive repertoire and skill development so that when we can return to playing together, we are ready to jump back without missing a step. Rejoin the KYO and help us fulfil our mission. Also, keep taking private lessons and participate in other musical activities, where you can, to work on your individual playing skills and musicianship. Every day of skill development for a young person is important.
For now, complete and return the registration form and deposit and join the KYO.
Thank you for your continued support and please contact us if you have any questions.
Hugh Johnston, KYO Music Director
Danielle Lennon, KYS/AS Conductor
Susan Johnston, General Manager