News Story

Atlantic Canada Blown Away by BYU-Idaho Sinfonietta

The Brigham Young University-Idaho’s Sinfonietta, a 38-member orchestra, recently concluded a whirlwind tour of Atlantic Canada, leaving a path of contented music lovers in its path.

Eight concerts were coordinated by the Canada Halifax Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Nearly 150 missionaries, assisted by local members of the Church, personally invited over 15,000 residents to enjoy quality music while supporting several organizations in their communities.

The concerts raised $10,000 for community charities including the IWK Foundation, Piggs Peak, the American Cancer Society Relay for Life, Inclusions East Inc. and the PEI Council of People with Disabilities.

The group drew large and enthusiastic audiences at the Dalhousie Arts Centre: Rebecca Cohn Auditorium in Halifax, N.S; the Imperial Theatre in St. John, N.B.; and St. Dunstan’s Basilica in Charlottetown, P.E.I. Additional performances were held in Dartmouth and New Glasgow, N.S.; in Moncton and Fredericton, N.B.; at University of Maine at Presque Isle and in parts of Quebec.

Attendees of the concerts were impressed with the music. Carol Ray, an accomplished musician from Fredericton, said, “I was blown away by the beauty and energy of the music.”

In Charlottetown, the event was a model of community and Church partnerships. The Honourable H. Frank Lewis, lieutenant-governor of Prince Edward Island, and his wife, the Honourable Dorothy Lewis, attended along with other government leaders and representatives from local community organizations. The concert featured the well-known Youth and Children’s Chorus of Prince Edward Island and Leo Marchildon, music director and organist at St. Dunstan’s Basilica. The master of ceremonies was Jamie Locke, local leader of the Salvation Army Ministries.

Locke commended those in attendance: “We as a people are not only willing to contribute financially to a great cause, but we carry a deep and genuine concern for the betterment of the lives of those in our community.”

Mission president Brian Leavitt paired the orchestra from Rexburg, Idaho, with local missionaries. He said it “was a perfect match.” Dale Hillier, the tour director from the university, agreed. “It was an amazing model that I would like to pursue again and again.”

Hillier credited the mission with building momentum for Sinfonietta by organizing two previous concert series, the Orange Blossom concerts and the Family Special concerts, featuring local missionary-musicians and directed by Elder R. Kevin Call, a professor of music from BYU-Idaho and a current missionary in Halifax.

The Honourable Valerie Docherty, provincial minister of community services and seniors, thanked Sinfonietta’s director, Dr. Robert Tueller, for the “wonderful music. … Music is one thing that brings us all together — it doesn’t matter what our politics are; it doesn’t matter what our faith is.”

During their tour, the Sinfonietta students enjoyed notable attractions, including Peggy’s Cove, Hopewell Rock, a maple sugar factory and a private tour of Green Gables. In addition to the rigorous travel and performance schedule, the students conducted music workshops with local schools in Fredericton and Moncton, N.B., and Montague, P.E.I.

Brigham Young University-Idaho is located in Rexburg, Idaho, and serves students from all 50 states and over 40 countries. 

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