In Review: Acadia Regional Youth Orchestra

Are you string instrument-curious? The Grapevine attended the Acadia Regional Youth Orchestra’s Try an Instrument Day on April 20 in Grand-Pré. The ARYO program is designed for ages 10-24, with the exception of the Fiddle Group which is open to all ages. The Try an Instrument Day is a fun way for interested participants to interact with different kinds of string instruments. There were violins, violas, and cellos on display, and mini-workshops where participants learned how to hold the instruments and play a few notes. A string quartet performed in the beginning and end of the event so participants could hear the instruments and ask the musicians questions. Questions included: “What is the difference between a violin and viola?”, and “Do you play a bass with a bow?”. Participants then explored their different options from an instrument collection inherited from a former Halifax strings program.

Alison Richard is a mother of two children who have participated in the ARYO strings program. Her son, now a violin student at Acadia University, was one of the string quartet performers. Richard says that The Try an Instrument Day is meant to be casual and fun, and is “one-part recruitment, one-part letting members play different instruments to continue their learning.”

Program Director Elizabeth Sircom says Try an Instrument Day is a new format ARYO is trying out, similar to initiation workshops they ran a few years back in local schools. ARYO is a low-cost orchestra program, with group lessons for beginners oriented towards playing in an ensemble.

Sircom says she had a lot of positive feedback from the event on the 20th and would consider doing it again. “We are happy to have proven that we could maintain an orchestra program through COVID and would like people to know that string playing is fun and rewarding and that we have a place where they can learn!”

Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Sircom.