SURREY — Joel Stobbe has the job of fine-tuning the talents of more than 100 young musicians for a performance in Surrey this weekend.
The “Sounds of the Season” concert on Sunday evening (Dec. 11) is a culmination of recent rehearsals by the three ensembles under the Surrey Symphony Society banner, which include Junior Strings, Intermediate and Youth orchestras.
Stobbe, a Langley resident, is the first-year artistic director of the organization, and also conducts.
Sunday’s concert, at Pacific Academy’s Chandos Pattison Auditorium, is a seasonal highlight for Surrey Youth Orchestras, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year.
It’s a large theatre to fill for such an event, and the SYO is doing its very best to put more bums in seats.
“We’re not yet at the filling-it stage, but I think we have around 400 people coming to this concert,” Stobbe (pictured below) told the Now. “That’s a good crowd, but we’d like very much to expand our audience and bring out some more people who don’t generally come out to concerts to hear what we’re capable of. This is some great music we’re playing.”
The senior group, known as Surrey Youth Orchestra, will perform Mendelssohn’s “Scottish” Symphony No. 3 in A Minor, while the Intermediate Orchestra, directed by Ben Goheen, will tackle Bach’s “Brandenburg Concerto No. 2,” Gustav’s “Finale: The Dargason” and a medley of music from “Les Miserables.” The Junior Strings, meanwhile, will perform “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” and other music, conducted by Andrea Taylor, who is known locally for her fine fiddle work with Pat Chessell Band.
Part of Stobbe’s job is to “unify the three ensembles and create a unified direction,” he said.
“One of the ways we’re doing that for this upcoming concert is by combining the three orchestras and playing together for a piece called ‘A Christmas Festival,’ by Leroy Anderson,” Stobbe explained. “It incorporates a bunch of the Christmas carols, and there are different parts that are easier to play for the junior orchestra and more difficult for the senior group, and it seems to fit right in there with where the intermediate orchestra is at. It’s a good fit for us.”
The youngest player of the bunch is seven or eight years of age, Stobbe said, the eldest 18.
“I can definitely say that this is the cream of the crop of young musicians in Surrey, which has some fantastic players, so we’re very luck to be able to have so many of them with Surrey Youth Orchestras.”
In September, Stobbe was appointed SYO’s first artistic director.
“Joel brings a wealth of knowledge and creative vision to the Surrey Youth Orchestras,” GM Karen Pledger told the Now. “He is also a department head at the renowned Langley Community Music School, and we were pleased to collaborate with the school for our Chamber Music Program over the Remembrance Day weekend. Students were coached by members of the Borealis String Quartet and the newly formed Rose Gellert String Quartet.”
Also in November, 75 of the senior students with SYO attended a music camp in Chilliwack to work with guest conductors and develop friendships, Pledger added.
“The result of their hard work (that) weekend will be evident on Dec. 11 when the kids perform.”
The orchestras rehearse at Langley Christian School, located at 22702 48th Ave., and everyone looks forward to returning to the Chandos on Sunday.
“We’ve been there many times to perform,” Stobbe said, “and we enjoy that theatre very much. We like the big stage there, which allows us to fit a lot of people on it, and it has good acoustics, too.”
Looking head, Stobbe noted that SYO will be holding auditions in January.
“We are accepting some players for new programs, so people are encouraged to contact us about that,” he said. “I know that our senior orchestra will be doing Beethoven’s (‘Symphony No. 5’), which is very popular, in the upcoming season. So we’re hoping to get some new recruits for that. We have kids graduating every year, moving on, so we have to make sure to replace them, too.”
Tickets for the “Sounds of the Season” concert range from $12 (for students, seniors and alumni) to $18 (adults). For details, visit Surreyyouthorchestras.bpt.me or call 778-549-5515. The SYO website is at Surreysymphony.com.