At 14 years of age, Maggie Kerr is barely the size of the case that holds her musical instrument.

She's plays cello with New Brunswick's Youth Orchestra — and she carries the instrument to practices and concerts in a large blue hard-shelled case that resembles an oversized guitar case.

It's not the kind of instrument you'd expect a young teenager to fall in love with ... but Maggie decided to add cello to her musical repertoire back in Grade 1 when she was already learning piano.


Maggie Kerr started playing the cello when we was in Grade 3. (Shaun Waters/CBC)

"I really liked the rich sound of the cello," Maggie said. "So I started to learn it in Grade 3. The cello's a deeper instrument, so it sounded lower. So it sounded just bigger and less high-pitched than other instruments and I like that about it."

And Kerr says size was never an issue once she discovered the instrument came in smaller sizes for younger and shorter players.

 Another thing about the cello that has kept her interest over the years is the variety of classical music she has learned.

"I like to play a lot of different things," she said. "I like to play Bach solo cello because those suites are very nice and rich. I just really like them."

Now in Grade 9 at Fredericton High School, Maggie says being part of a large orchestra has really opened her eyes to the potential of music and the friendships that develop.

"I really like playing music with other kids who also love music and we really play challenging repertoire," said Maggie. "It kind of shows that when you work hard it pays off in the end."

'I really like playing music that kind of uses the full orchestra, like not just one instrument has the melody.' - Maggie Kerr

Maggie says she looks forward to the youth orchestra's monthly practices because those are the times when the full experience of playing in a larger group really comes to life for her. 

"I really like playing music that kind of uses the full orchestra, like not just one instrument has the melody. I find the moods of the music are expressed better that way."

Another benefit to being part of the youth orchestra is the travel. The youth orchestra has played Vienna in past years.

Maggie says she and the other members are already looking forward to scheduled tours across Canada next year as part of Canada's 150th birthday celebrations. The orchestra will play dates in Ottawa and Toronto and across New Brunswick.

This weekend the New Brunswick Youth Orchestra is putting on a concert called "Inspiring Excellence." It takes place Sunday at 2 p.m. in the Theatre Bernard-Poirier at the Centre Communitaire Sainte-Anne in Fredericton.