My name is Meiko Taylor and I have the privilege of working for the National Arts Centre Orchestra. Most days you’ll find me running around the backstage of Southam Hall, but this week I’m running all over Ottawa and Gatineau with various members of the orchestra. We’re celebrating NAC Orchestra Week in the Nation’s Capital and this is the third year (we’ve been doing this for six years now) that I’ve been charged with programming the week’s many community outreach concerts.
Each year NAC Orchestra Week looks a little bit different due to numerous variables: budget/funding, the orchestra’s schedule, the individual musician’s busy schedules, identifying new community partnerships, audiences and venues, and the list goes on. This year I feel like we’re striking a really nice balance between events and concerts that are free and open to the public and concerts that have been put together for specific community groups and organizations.
We started the week off with a bang celebrating Music Monday at City Hall. The Rideau Lakes Brass Quintet, who are all members of the incredible brass section of the NACO, joined a 500-voice massed choir of local elementary school children to perform three songs and advocate for the importance of music education in our schools. It was a really moving event, and I must say the brass instruments sounded so beautiful in the large marble-encased room that is Jean Pigott Hall!
We have lots of events left in the week – 3 student matinee performances, 3 Pops performances, 6 outreach performances in community centers and retirement homes, and one more free, public concert on Saturday in the Glebe. I’m really looking forward to this last concert, which takes place at Fifth Avenue Court (5th Ave & Bank St.) starting at 12 noon. The first half of the concert will feature once again the wonderful Rideau Lakes Brass Quintet, and the second half will be performed by members of the NACO string section – Concertmaster Yosuke Kawasaki, Associate Concertmaster Jessica Linnebach, Assistant Principal Cello David Hutchenreuther, Double bassist Hilda Cowie, and Violist Paul Casey. I hope lots of people will come out to hear these amazing musicians on Saturday!
Here is a full list of NAC Orchestra Week events