“It’s kind of like driving a sports car.”
That’s Tim Bullen, band teacher at L.V. Rogers Secondary and Trafalgar Middle School, talking about what it’s like to conduct the Greater Victoria Youth Orchestra.
Bullen directed the 55-member orchestra augmented by his own Nelson bands — amounting to an orchestra of 130 musicians — as part of a concert Friday night at the LVR gym.
Trafalgar student Mason Scott learns some mallet techniques for the marimba from the Victoria Youth Orchestra’s William Exner. (All photos by Bill Metcalfe)
Bullen says the Victoria musicians adjusted well to a new conductor and to having 75 less experienced musicians suddenly inserted into their group.
“The calibre of players they have, they can respond immediately. You can make changes, they adapt,” Bullen said. “They led the way the music shapes and flows.”
The mass orchestra performs.
The Victoria orchestra, with musicians ranging in age from 14 to 25, had the second half of the program all to itself, performing colourful works by Ravel, Borodin, and Bartok, as well as a composition by one of its own members, 22-year-old percussionist and composer Brandon Chow.
The group’s conductor, Yariv Aloni, told the Star he loves working with young musicians because of “their enthusiasm. I love that they play every piece for the first time. It’s like seeing a movie for the first time. It’s always exciting, and I love the learning curve because when they start, they don’t know the piece or what to expect.”
A trumpet section of students from LVR, Trafalgar, and the Victoria Youth Orchestra.
He said he was happy to spend a few days in Nelson.
“I love Nelson. I always did. The highlight here was the fact that we really combined the groups and made it a big event rather than just playing a concert. Tim is just an amazing man. And it’s fun to see how the musicians [from the different groups] interact so well together. The interaction of the musicians, that was the highlight for me.”
A string trio from the Victoria orchestra.
Director Yariv Aloni with the Greater Victoria Youth Orchestra