Saturday was a big day for the newly formed Youth Orchestra, under the project “Music Brings People Together”. Some 40 youngsters performed for the first time, for a full house at Philipsburg Cultural Centre! Parents, friends, primary school principals, and even Youth & Culture Minister Wycliffe Smith came to enjoy the event.

The Youth Orchestra performed a range of iconic classical music (think Ludwig van Beethoven and Julius Benedict) as part of a series of shows by National Institute of Arts (NIA). The evening continued with stunning dances in a wide range of genres by NIA.

“The kids are amazing,” said Youth Orchestra Director Neville James. “Most kids only just started to play, and they have been learning really fast.” It’s true. The kids have progressed in just a few months. Many had never seen the instruments they performed with, before the programme started.

The orchestra included cellos, French horns, oboes and violins. Some of the classical music pieces performed are around 200 years old, yet are readily recognisable today through movies and even pop culture.

The project, funded by the Dutch Disaster Fund, brings together youngsters, ages eight to 18, with a love and knack for music. In the coming months, they will start giving free performances to the public, in different parts of the island – keep your ears to the ground so that you don’t miss it!

Only around half of the Youth Orchestra took part in this debut performance, so we can only imagine what it will be like when more than 70 youngsters play all at once!

Each performer was presented a special certificate by Minister Smith and NIA co-Founder Arlene Halley. In the coming months, the group will actually be scouting for even more students to join the programme.

Teaching the students over the past few months have been Neville James, Dennis Amajan, Funk Gumbs, Jose Pacheco, Georgie Stankov, Leroy Vlaun and Connis Vanterpool. Some were on stage to provide guidance during the performances.

Picture: Riddim 41 Production.