Music that will inspire a lifelong love

MAGIC: Maya Speers, 11, of Nelson, playing the violin during the Top of the South Nelson Youth Orchestra rehearsal.
MAGIC: Maya Speers, 11, of Nelson, playing the violin during the Top of the South Nelson Youth Orchestra rehearsal.

Young musicians from Nelson, Marlborough and Golden Bay are coming together for the annual Top of the South Youth Orchestra concert.

The concert will see youngsters from the Nelson Regional Youth Orchestra, the Marlborough Youth Orchestra and the Golden Bay Stringlets playing arrangements of well-known classical pieces.

There's also music from movies and an original piece called Twinkle Twinkle Little Fugue written for the orchestra by its founder and conductor.

The Nelson Regional Youth Orchestra was established 3 years ago by Joel Bolton, who was inspired by the Venezuela Youth Orchestra and a government-funded system in Venezuela called El Sistema.

The initiative provides instruments and tuition and the opportunity to play in numerous children's and youth orchestras throughout that country.

Mr Bolton said playing in an orchestra from an early age and being exposed to music written by the world's greatest creative geniuses taught children about working co-operatively, built musical and technical skills and also increased their awareness and appreciation of beauty and overall sensitivity.

His said his own experience of learning the recorder and flute in free Saturday morning classes, and the opportunity to play in the Auckland Youth Orchestra down the track, had a profound and positive effect on his life.

Mr Bolton charges no fees to join the Nelson Regional Youth Orchestra of about 40 players and children do not have to audition to get in.

The level of playing is about grade 2 to 5, although there are players at higher and lower levels.

Mr Bolton said he hoped to establish a junior orchestra for early beginners and a senior youth orchestra for more advanced players of around grade 6 to 8 or higher.

He was also keen to take the orchestra on a regional tour of schools next year, as a lot of primary school children had never heard classical music "and certainly never heard it played by an orchestra featuring their own peer group".

"The hope is that from this more children will be inspired to take up an instrument and enjoy the lifelong pleasure that music can bring."

  • Top of the South Youth Orchestra, Nelson School of Music, 3pm Sunday December 9. Tickets $10 at the door for adults, and a gold coin for school students.