The halls of the Victoria Conservatory of Music (VCM) have been buzzing with more excitement than usual the last few weeks as the Spark to Flame concert draws near.
The concert isn’t just another performance in the music school’s season; it’s a chance for students to fulfill their dreams of some day being able to play with an orchestra.
“It’s a dream that many aspiring music students have, however few realize: to one day play or sing as a soloist with a symphony orchestra, with a famous conductor, in front of a full house of people who support them and share their love for music,” said Stephen Green. dean of the VCM.
“We know realizing that dream is enough to turn the spark of talent and passion for music a young student has, into the flame that their teachers at the VCM will nurture into the roaring blaze that fuels a great career.”
Now in its 11th year, the school has designed a program for those studying classical music to experience the process of preparing for an audition, creating a repertoire, rehearsing, and putting together a package that promotes the event, including ticket sales.
On the day of the big show, approximately 27 students ranging in age from 15 to 20, will be sitting next to 10 professionals from the Victoria Symphony and conducted by Pacific Opera Victoria’s founding artistic director Timothy Vernon, who was one of the first students at the conservatory when it opened in 1964.
The experience, noted Green, helps students grow their confidence in being able to stand on stage and play with an orchestra, and also gives them a better chance of making the cut when the times comes to audition.
“It’s a wonderful experience and something they never forget. It’s something that so many students aspire to, but rarely get the chance,” said Green, who’s been at the conservatory for nearly five years and is trained as an orchestral and opera conductor, working for a number of years in Europe.
“There’s nothing more rewarding than to see the big smiles on their faces when that moment comes and they’ve been practicing so hard and it all goes off well.”
The concert includes several featured soloists that will perform classical pieces they’ve been practicing since the fall. Some students have been at the VCM for a couple of years, while others have been there four to five.
But the excitement doesn’t stop once the concert is over. Spark to Flame also has an outreach component, noted Green, that involves a group of students going to elementary schools in the region to talk to kids about what it’s like to learn their musical instrument and work in a group.
Spark to Flame takes place Saturday, Feb. 25 at 7:30 p.m. at the Alix Goolden Performance Hall. Tickets are $6.65 online or $5.25 at the door and can be purchased by calling 250-5311 or online at vcm.bc.ca/events/spark-to-flame.
The Victoria Conservatory of Music has more than 3,700 students and music therapy clients of all ages. For more information visit vcm.bc.ca.