MINTY: Young voices wanted for ‘Robinson Crusoe’ in Surrey this spring

Auditions for YPOS show held at Newton Cultural Centre on Sunday, Jan. 24

A scene from a previous production staged by Surrey-based Young People's Opera Society of BC (YPOSBC)

SURREY — We make music in Surrey. We could be the envy of other nearby cities, even. It’s not that we have a grownup professional orchestra or opera company. We don’t. We have something better: amazing opportunities for our young people to test their talents and develop as musicians.

As a school system, Surrey has managed to hang on to band and music programs, even in the face of budget cuts. Outside of school, there are music schools, choirs, independent teachers and youth orchestras. If you want to learn an instrument, sing, or even sing and dance at the same time, there are many opportunities right here. I know I have only found a fraction of what is out there.

Like so many things in life, it is important to start young. Grow up with music, sing, learn to read notes in a musical staff and learn words written on a page. Ear training is critical to be introduced at a young age. Notice how children pick up languages easier than adults? We have a connection with music, so don’t wait to be all grownup before you learn the language of music. Not only start young, please support the projects in our city that offer music and singing for young people. It makes a difference.

There was a beverage commercial that sang the words, “I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony.” Think about it.

The Young Peoples’ Opera Society of BC is holding auditions for “Robinson Crusoe,” a lightly blocked Opera in Concert to be performed in April in Surrey. Music direction by Dolores Scott. This piece needs all voice types and lots of chorus members to be Aboriginals and pirates. Remember, this is the Young Peoples’ Opera Society, so young people are encouraged to audition. Needed are the title character along with Friday (female mezzo-soprano) and those who can play upper class Brits, a la “Downton Abbey.”

Auditions are being held this Sunday (Jan. 24) at Newton Cultural Centre, 13530 72nd Ave., from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Be prepared to sing a song you feel most comfortable singing, bring the music for the accompanist, or sing a cappella (without accompaniment). Contact Patricia Dahlquist (PICTURED) at or call 604-594-9506. Dahlquist is the founder of YPOS and keeps it alive with some help. She also really tried to teach me how to sing and was sooooo very encouraging. But wish I’d had some earlier ear training. I sing. It is getting better with practice – OK, maybe not, but let me have my dream. The talent just wasn’t gifted to me in generous proportion.

Some people not only were gifted with a huge talent, they also have had the opportunity to practice, perform and develop that talent. Young pianist Julie Wu, 12, takes to a stage in Langley this weekend to perform before heading to an international competition. Julie is giving the recital to prepare for one of the world’s most prestigious competitions for young pianists, the Gina Bachauer International Junior Piano Competition. The first round of the competition takes place in Salt Lake City from Feb. 6 to 8.

Already a seasoned performer, this Surrey preteen (PICTURED) has performed twice in New York’s famed Carnegie Hall. These performances came as the result of being a first-place winner of the 2014 American Protégé International Piano and Strings Competition, and a gold medalist at the International Young Musicians Festival “Passion of Music 2013” event. There are lots of other awards won by this young musician. It doesn’t come about just because you have talent.

Julie studies at Langley Community Music School with Dr. Henri-Paul Sicsic, an internationally renowned concert pianist and teacher. Says LCMS principal Susan Magnusson, “Julie Wu is an exceptional young talent, and I encourage the community to take the opportunity to hear her play.” Her recital is on Saturday, Jan. 23 at the music school’s Rose Gellert Hall (4899 207th St., Langley), starting at 2 p.m. Admission is free.

Music. What a gift.



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