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spotlight on!

2023 marks the return of our Spotlight On! program as part of the NSO’s 75th Diamond Anniversary Season. This program invites youth performers from across the region to perform in the First Ontario Performing Arts Centre main lobby for NSO patrons for 30 minutes prior to our concerts as well as during our intermissions.

2023/24 Guests

Sunday, September 17: Adrian Papez – Guitarist from Brock University’s Marilyn I Walker School of Fine & Performing Arts’ Music Department

Sunday, October 22: Kalam Elgersma and James Romany

Sunday, November 19: Niagara Youth Orchestra

Sunday, January 28: Canadian Youth Chinese Orchestra

Dizi: Eddie Zheng, Tony Tong
Erhu: Anna Tan, Daisy Wang, Ryan Gu
Yangqin: Wesley Wong
Guzheng: Avery Wong

Sunday, March 3: Niagara Youth Orchestra – Strings

Performers: Summer Ahn, Simona Berardocco, Kaitlyn Buggeln, Grant Dywan, Joya Fadell, Claire Gravel, Malcolm Hauber, Eunyu Jang, Tiffany Kang, Dahyeon Kim, Hayoon Kim, Nayhoon Kim, Aila Laakso, Matthias Lodewyk, Owen MacDonald, Elyse Thom, Lydia Quadrizius, Miriam Quadrizius, Clara Ritchie, Arthur Ritchie, Liliana Valencic, Max Wang, Riley Wright, Ruize Xu, Serena Yang, Siyuan Yin, Charles Zhang, and Andy Zhu.

Founded by Paul van Dongen, the Niagara Youth Orchestra is the premiere training ground for young orchestral musicians under 25 years old in the Niagara Region. Led by professional coaches and conductors who are affiliated with orchestras across the province, members of the Niagara Youth Orchestra receive extensive music education and performance experiences through regular concert seasons and special events. Membership in the orchestra is determined by a placement interview and can be scheduled by emailing [email protected]

The Concert Orchestra, conducted by George Cleland and Lisa Donati, provides young musicians with the opportunity to develop their skills, exposing them to challenging music in both their individual ensemble groups and as an orchestra, as well as providing them with performance experience.

The Symphonic Orchestra, conducted by Michael van Dongen, provides an excellent training ground for young musicians. There is a mix of elementary, high school and university level musicians in this group.

The Training Program is intended for aspiring musicians aged seven and up. These group beginner lessons are led by professional coaches affiliated with orchestras across Ontario. No audition or experience is necessary.

Saturday, April 13 – DSBN Academy Band

 Yaman Alarag, piano

Mackenna Bunyan, guitar

Tobias Fisher, bass

Jordan Lawrence, alto sax

Mimi Nasr, alto sax

Matthew Ramos Gutierrez, tenor sax

Luke Spano-Porter, tenor sax

Khoi Tran, flute

Logan Wilson, drums

Under the direction of Hollie Stevenett and Toby Ley

Sunday, May 5 (pre-concert only): Adrian Papez – Guitarist from Brock University’s Marilyn I Walker School of Fine & Performing Arts’ Music Department

Adrian Papez

Adrian began his musical journey in 2016 when he got an electric guitar for Christmas. After deciding In 2019 that he was going to pursue a formal music education, Adrian began his study of classical guitar in September of that year with Timothy Phelan. He is now in his fourth year of Bachelor of Music at Brock University with a concentration in performance. Adrian enjoys playing classical, rock and jazz guitar, composing music, and playing and performing in various ensembles. Adrian and two other Brock classmates formed the band, “713”, where they play a variety of styles and may eventually perform and record some of Adrian’s compositions. While continuing to grow his career by performing for events and gigs, Adrian is studying to become a versatile and well practiced performing musician. He dreams to one day perform his own music.

Kalam Elgersma

Kalam Elgersma is a percussionist, guitarist, songwriter, and producer. Kalam recently finished his first year studying jazz vibraphone for a BMus in music business, performance, and production at Berklee College of Music. He played with the Niagara Youth Orchestra from 2013 – 2022 and has attended SMC for most of his life. Kalam has played in the drumline, concert band, jazz band, and steel pan ensemble at Grimsby Secondary School and was the Music Council President at school this past year. Kalam will continue his songwriting and performing experiences throughout Niagara this Summer with his band, Lockheart, and his jazz quartet.

James Romany

James Romany is a pianist, guitarist, songwriter, and overall music enthusiast. James is a grade 12 student at West Niagara Secondary School and is very involved in his school’s music community. He plays in the repertoire class, jazz combos, holiday events, and frequently does jazz gigs through the school with his trio. In the near future James plans on going to music school to study jazz piano performance and production. Until then James spends most of his time practicing and doing what he loves most, music.