Former Youth Orchestra Innovates with Community-backed Revival


Reuniting for the first time after the unexpected cancellation of the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony’s season, former members of the Youth Orchestra graced the stage on Sunday. The talented young instrumentalists have been requested to be a part of a new community youth orchestra. Their weekly rehearsals will take place in the nurturing environment of Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo.

In the words of conductor Matthew Jones, “This is an opportunity for these young musicians to focus on their passion and excel in their practice. They will play a pivotal role in shaping the future of our community’s music landscape.” Jones was in awe of the positivity emanating from the orchestra, which he said manifested the unshakeable commitment of the students, their parents, and the community’s shared love for music.

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While these young musicians are not expected to bear any costs regarding their participation in the orchestra, it has been communicated to their families that performances at renowned venues like the Centre in the Square or the Conrad Centre seem unlikely. Guest appearances from accomplished clinicians and conductors are also not expected at the moment.

Yet, despite these challenges, Jones is highly optimistic, expressing gratitude for the community’s overwhelming response towards the symphony’s sudden withdrawal. “This unfortunate incident has only brought us closer together – we will continue to celebrate the beauty of music and uphold the invaluable legacy of the symphony,” he expressed.

This week, Jones revealed how the most experienced youth members were the first to be chosen for the fledgeling orchestra. “We believe in their potential to take this orchestra to new heights,” he said, hinting at the eventual inclusion of younger ensembles.

Trouble had been brewing for the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, when, a day before they were due to start their youth season, they sent an email noticing the postponement of all upcoming rehearsals and performances. The Symphony declared that the entire season would be cancelled unless they received a hefty $2 million, to avert bankruptcy.

While the community rallied around the Symphony, raising over $344,000 through GoFundMe, these efforts could not prevent the organization from filing for bankruptcy. Still, Jones remained hopeful. “Our community is rallying behind this cause. If our youth orchestra can channelize this passion and help pave the way forward, it’s a privilege for us to be a part of that journey,” he said.

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