MELANIE MINTY: Young classical musicians play for mothers (and others)

SURREY — One month of spring is officially done. Before we slide slowly into summer, let us not overlook some spring celebrations in the world of music, dance and visual art.

Surrey Youth Orchestra presents an evening of orchestral delights on Sunday May 10 – that’s Mother’s Day – at 7 p.m. at the Chando Pattison Auditorium, located at 10238 168th St., Surrey. The three orchestras consist of 120 young musicians who all learn serious music skills under the direction of Joel Stobbe, Ben Goheen and Andrea Taylor. The ensembles will perform a “fresh bouquet” of music composed by “fashionable composers” throughout the centuries, including Vivaldi, Handel, Mozart, Grieg and Dvorak. These composers were the “rock stars” of their era. This music has remained popular, and on the favourite list, for a reason.

Felicia Tsai, violinist and winner of this year’s annual Concerto Competition, will be featured in “Symphonie Espagnole in D minor, Op. 21,” by Edouard Lalo, and Antoine Dvorak’s “Symphony No. 8” will conclude the concert. Surrey Symphony Society will also present nine scholarships to deserving members of all three orchestras.

It is perhaps difficult to imagine young people who devote a large portion of their Saturdays to orchestra rehearsal. Many years ago, I remember taking my musically gifted son to Junior String rehearsals every Saturday. Wish I had taken some photos – there were a number of kids dressed in soccer gear, ready to go to their game after rehearsal. Violins first, kick the ball later.

This 11-year-old music prodigy wasn’t overly enthusiastic about the rehearsals – until the first concert. Then it was the best! It was a thrill – better than winning a soccer game. And that is why I know these concerts are important. The budding performers need an audience. Who knows where one concert will lead.

Over the course of 39 years in operation, the non-profit Surrey Symphony Society has achieved its goals of developing young talent and maintaining high musical standards. Participating in rehearsals, concerts, workshops, festivals and special events, the organization’s multicultural membership currently includes young musicians from the age of seven to 19, from Surrey and throughout the Lower Mainland.

For more information about the May 10 concert, including tickets ($18 for adults, $12 for youth and seniors), email or visit

In the world of tap dance, tickets are now on sale for the West Coast Tap Dance Collective’s annual International Tap Day Show honouring Canadian tap dancer, Ruby Keeler. This year’s show will feature emcee Teryl Rothery and guest artists Alexandra Clancy, Peggy Giesbrecht, Jim Hibbard, Elysia Matheson, Paula Skimin, Lindsay Sterk and Aaron Tolson, plus a host of amazing dancers from studios all over the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island.

Heads up: the tap group I am in will be performing in this year’s show, and if you want to get tickets now, get them online at The show is on Sunday, May 24 – not the May long weekend – at Massey Theatre in New West, 7 p.m. start.

Next month I will tell you more about the show, but right now all tap dancers might want to sign up for a tap workshop that touts “tap dance like it’s 1933.” Brenda Cowie, newly returned from England, is leading three classic tap workshops inspired by Keeler. It’s on Saturday, May 2 (sorry for the short notice) at Dance Trance, #109-19232 Enterprise Way, Surrey. Junior kids (ages seven to 10) are in session from 1 to 2:15 p.m., Intermediate advanced (age 13+) at 2:15, and adults at 4:15. Adults, don’t let me down. I told Brenda that there were lots of adult tappers out here. Confirm attendance with Brenda by sending an email to She wants registration by Thursday (April 30). Get on it.

Also of note this week: The City of Surrey’s annual Public Art Street Banner Design competition received a total of 44 proposals. The winning submission was “Cycle,” by Ying (Nancy) Chen, who was awarded $2,500 for the use of her design to create banners. Chen is a student in the School of Interactive Arts and Technology at SFU Surrey. Her vibrant fish design, in a yin-yang composition, is inspired by growth made possible with the abundance of clean water.

(See below for photos of banners on the Now’s Facebook page)

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Have you seen these new banners on the streets of Surrey? SFU Surrey student Ying (Nancy) Chen is $2,500 richer thanks…

Posted by The Now Newspaper on Friday, April 24, 2015

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