Music to our ears: National Youth Orchestra coming to Charlottetown

The National Youth Orchestra is coming back to P.E.I. on its Edges of Canada tour as part of the Canada 150 celebrations.

The orchestra's cross country tour will bring it to 11 cities

Musicians in the National Youth Orchestra will be going on a cross-Canada tour this year as part of Canada 150 celebrations. (Submitted by National Youth Orchestra)

The National Youth Orchestra is coming back to P.E.I. on its Edges of Canada tour as part of the Canada 150 celebrations.

It's the first time in over a decade the group's tour will bring it to the Island where they will play a concert at the Confederation Centre of the Arts. 

The orchestra is made up of 92 musicians from across the country, and while there are no Islanders in the group, there are five from Atlantic Canada.

The tour begins in Ottawa on July 22 and will make stops in Montreal and Toronto before coming to Charlottetown on July 30 with festivities wrapping up in Vancouver on August 15.

'Most ambitious tour'

The National Youth Orchestra tours every year but executive director Barbara Smith said that they are usually not this expansive.

"This is the most ambitious tour we've ever undertaken," she said. "We do tour every year, but they're usually much smaller tours."

Barbara Smith, executive director of the National Youth Orchestra, said the tour is a great opportunity for music students from across Canada. (Angela Walker/CBC)

Smith said the group will use trains and planes to traverse much of the country, with a chartered flight to travel to Whitehorse for their performance August 10. 

"It's quite an ambitious undertaking."

'Elevate the energy'

Smith said that the National Youth Orchestra brings something that even seasoned symphony listeners can appreciate.

"Even if you are accustomed to going to symphonic concerts and listening to professional orchestras, this is something special and quite different because these students are there really, purely for the love of the music," she said.

"They practically elevate the energy and the passion that they play with, is something that is really special and something that you just don't get anywhere else."

Smith said the experience of practicing and touring together for almost eight weeks creates bonds between the musicians that they carry forever.

"They form lifelong friendships and relationships, we've seen couples meet and get married," she said.

"And because we've been around for 57 years the children of alumni from the early years are in the orchestra now. It becomes a real family."

With files from CBC: Mainstreet