When I first came to Toronto, I was excited to start the The Leaside Youth Community Orchestra (LYCO) and the Leaside Community Orchestra (LCO). These orchestras were meant to be learning orchestras so youth and adults alike could experience playing in an orchestra.
Once COVID-19 entered our community, it became obvious that the community orchestra would have to wait, at least as traditional orchestras go. After 5 years of working with students online, I decided that an online orchestra is still possible.
Introducing the Norman Bernal Memorial Orchestra
New for 2020, Enlightened Audio has begun online rehearsals for the Norman Bernal Memorial Orchestra (NBMO). This orchestra invites youth and adults from anywhere in the Universe to participate in this grand experiment to bring the beauty of performance to audiences worldwide. Since this is a learning orchestra, there are no auditions. However, we are asking that players have some experience with their instrument.
Depending on enrollment, the orchestra can be divided into two groups; Orchestra A for beginners, and Orchestra B for more experience players.
To participate, members will need:
– a way to record themselves at home (microphone and computer)
– a webcam for rehearsal participation
– a computer able to run Zoom
– Commitment to daily practice and a weekly group class.
– at least 1 year of experience playing your instrument for Orchestra A
– 2 or more years experience for Orchestra B
– Adult orchestra is for players 20 and older. Adults who donate rehearsal time to the youth orchestra may participate in the adult orchestra for free
An online rehearsal is held each week for 120 minutes. One additional sectional rehearsal for each section of the orchestra will be held each session. At the end of the session, all players will record their part and the conductor will combine them into a final concert piece. The recording will be broadcast for family members.
The suggested donation cost to participate is $130 CAD ($110 USD) per session. This will help cover buying sheet music, and venue rental (once we return to in-person). Sessions run 12 weeks.
To sign up, please contact us.
Who was Norman Bernal? – a note from our founder
I first met Norman Bernal when I was 10 years old. He came to our elementary school to test us for the middle school orchestra we would get to play in the next school year. Norman led me through Trickum Middle School Orchestra, the Gwinnett Honor Orchestra, Da Salo Solisti, and the Gwinnett Chamber Orchestra. He was a talented Luthier, and incredibly gifted teacher. He had a huge influence on my teaching style but also taught me how to repair and restore violins. As I grew older, he became a close, family friend.
In September of 2020, Norman passed away from COVID-19. He was 75 years old. The news was brutal, still bringing tears to my eyes as I write this paragraph. This orchestra is meant to honour him and the work he did in music education.