Josh Wynnyk, percussion (2014-17)

Apart from the amazing faculty and concerts in incredible halls, I believe the best aspect of NYO Canada is the networking and connections you make during the session. These are the top youth musicians from the top schools across Canada (and the US!) who will be our colleagues in years to come. I gives me great pride when I can say, “I know that person, we did NYOC together!”.

Malcolm Kellett-Cooke, tuba (2016-17)

I will never forget playing with NYO Canada, my summer with them was a definitive moment in my career and has already become a pivotal point in my development as a musician.

The faculty was excellent, comprised of not only excellent musicians but of players who had a real understanding of pedagogy, the staff were patient, efficient and quick to help and the students were beyond capable and impassioned with the music we performed. I know that many of the connections I made here, both personal and professional, will last a lifetime.

Jonathan Elliotson, trumpet (2016-17)

The people were what had the deepest impact on me. The staff were incredible. They organized all the important details (concerts, rehearsals, logistics, etc.), and also all the tours they arranged so that we could fully experience the very beautiful country we were able to visit. They were efficient and expedient when we were on the road, all along the way making sure we had what we needed.

The faculty were constantly ensuring that we had all the coachings or lessons we wanted, while attending all of our rehearsals to give us invaluable feedback. They were positive, constructive and inspiring.

Finally, my new friends at NYO. Not only are they some of the most talented and skilled musicians I have ever performed with, but they are also some of the most wonderful people on the planet. The most learning I have done since being at NYO have come from my colleagues. These friendships will surely last a lifetime. 

This is the first time I've been apart of the National Youth Orchestra of Canada after having auditioned four times and it has been an experience that I'll never forget.

Thank you, NYO, for the best summer of my life.

Tate Zawadiuk, cello (2016)

NYO Canada gave me the opportunity, free of cost, plus an award, to participate in a summer that allowed me to develop as an orchestral and chamber musician. Throughout my time this summer at NYOC, I have forged friendships with amazing people and outstanding musicians. NYOC is a unique program because it never stays the same. It is always evolving, taking the orchestra to new places, treating the cello section to the worlds best cello chairs, and of course all of this is possible thanks to the of the hardworking staff and ingenious executive director. Thank you NYOC for an unforgettable summer.

Adam Caulfield, cello (2014-16)

For the past three years, I have spent my summers learning and having fun at NYO. It has always been an amazing experience, working with so many high level players. One of the best aspects of the program is that we work with a high level conductor and rehearse as a true professional Orchestra, not just as a youth group. I've also made a lot of lifelong friends here at NYO, and have had the opportunity to grow a ton as a musician. Even for someone like myself, who does not plan for a career in music, I am so thankful for the connections and networking that I have still made through my time at NYO. There are many reasons as to why I've kept coming back for three years, and it wasn't just for the incredible tour of Portugal!

Lucas O'Fee, trombone (2015-17)

Looking back on the two incredible summers I have spent as a member of the National Youth Orchestra of Canada has made me realize how lucky I have been to participate in such an amazing summer program. The NYOC gave me the opportunity to study with some of the best instructors in Canada all in the same place. I will keep the friendships and connections I made with my colleagues in the orchestra for the rest of my life. Being an NYOC member also enabled me to perform all over the place, ranging from a concert in front of my friends and family in Vancouver BC, to concerts in beautiful settings in Portugal. 

None of this would be possible without the hard work of the NYOC administration and staff. As a 2016 Award of Excellence winner I am especially grateful to those who secured the funding that the orchestra needs to operate and provide scholarships. The generous monetary support provided by NYOC enabled me, and I’m sure many others, to forgo working summer jobs to focus on making music. 

The National Youth Orchestra of Canada is a truly unique and special place for its members. The combination of world class instruction, amazing tours, time to get to know new friends, and full funding for orchestra members simply does not exist at any other summer music festival in the world. Thank you, National Youth Orchestra of Canada, for two unforgettable summers.