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K-W Symphony Youth Orchestra finds new home

It appears the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Youth Orchestra has found a new home – even as the overall symphony organization files for bankruptcy.

In an email to families Thursday morning, youth orchestra conductor Matthew Jones invited members of the senior youth orchestra to weekly rehearsals starting Sunday as part of a new community youth orchestra.

The sessions will take place at Wilfrid Laurier University, which has provided space for the youth orchestra for years.

Jones sent the email and spoke to CTV News for an interview prior to the symphony announcing it had filed for bankruptcy late Thursday afternoon.

“We are seeking to maintain operations as best we can and that has involved a lot of really amazing, goodwill on the part of colleagues,” Jones said, noting he’s organizing the program in his capacity as an independent contractor, not as part of the symphony organization.

Clinicians and mentors from KWS have agreed to help, Jones explained.

“It’s been really heart-warming and very inspiring.”

The will be no cost additional cost to attend rehearsals. However, the community youth orchestra will no longer be able to perform at venues like Centre in the Square or the Conrad Centre and visits from guest clinicians and conductors are unlikely, the email said.

While the new rehearsals will only include members of the senior youth orchestra to start, Jones said they intend to expand to include the younger ensembles as soon as possible.

He said getting the senior orchestra back up and running is an important step.

“They are the oldest students, they are the most practiced, the most experienced. Some of them indeed go on to career in music, to study at university etcetera. So it’s an important stepping stone for those musicians," Jones said.

He and his colleagues see it as an investment in the future.

“It’s very easy for me, and my sense is that it has been easy for my colleagues to pay it forward. To invest in these young people. They are our future. We want a youth orchestra to be here for the next generation of musicians as well. The onus is on us, on the decisions we make today to make sure that that has the best chance of taking place.” Top Stories

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