Two dozen music students from Langley are taking part in a virtual concert over the lunch hour this Friday that will raising money and awareness for youth mental health.
The Apollo Initiative will unite more than 350 students and five conductors from across B.C. in a virtual free performance that will livestream on Youth Mental Health Day on May 7.
Leading that local charge is concertmaster and violinist Brooklyn Wood.
This Fort Langley teenager, 17, is the student representative for the LCMS orchestra, and in doing so will share her personal experiences with the Apollo project and on performing music during the pandemic – which, she explained, has been different for each of the participating orchestras.
“For many of us, music has been our only means of connecting with our friends during the pandemic, especially during lockdown, so we’re also speaking on the importance of music and the arts and raise awareness of youth mental health,” said Wood, who is a Grade 11 student at Langley Fine Arts School.
“A lot of teens and youth are struggling with mental health right now,” said Wood, who plays violin, piano, and composes music.
“During our practices for Apollo, our conductors opened some really great discussions about mental health and ways to find local help if we’re struggling or have a friend that is. I hope that this project creates awareness and lets young people know that it’s good to find help if they, or someone they know is having a hard time.”
The Apollo initiative began when youth orchestra conductors from around the province came together to create an opportunity for B.C.’s youth to share a large and exciting musical experience – despite current social and travel restrictions.
Focusing on youth mental wellness was important to the conductors as well, explained LCMS’ senior orchestra conductor and senior programs coordinator Joel Stobbe.
The charity fundraiser was initiated as a response to COVID-19’s devastating impact on the mental wellness of BC’s youth, many of whom look to their participation in music as an important tool in their mental wellness strategy, he said.
Hundreds of students from the Langley Community Music School Orchestra, as well as Coquitlam Youth Orchestra, Greater Victoria Youth Orchestra, Okanagan Symphony Youth Orchestra, Surrey Youth Orchestra, and the Vancouver Youth Symphony Orchestra rehearsed, performed, and recorded their own parts.
“The concert is pre-recorded and has been edited by Jordan Nobles himself. Each orchestra rehearsed and then recorded our parts, sometimes individually and sometimes as a small group, depending on the orchestra. We then submitted all of the videos (over 300) to Jordan and he has been editing and stitching them all together. It’s quite a big process,” explained Wood, who’s also played violin for Apollo as a member of the Vancouver Youth Symphony orchestra.
“It’s been amazing to work with students from across the province and showcase just how much music can positively impact change,” she added.
“The Apollo initiative brings our students together with other young musicians from all across the province for a cause the students care deeply about,” Stobbe interjected, noting the local music school has provided virtual, in-person, and hybrid learning opportunities throughout the pandemic.
“The event is short, maybe under 10 minutes. It will stream the world premiere of Apollo at 12pm on Friday, May 7 but will be available for viewing on YouTube and Facebook all 6 of the orchestra’s websites afterwards. Donations will be accepted until the end of May,” Wood said.
She’s been a student at the music school for 12 years, starting with violin, then taking up composing around age eight, and five years ago starting on the piano.
“I started preparatory violin group classes at LCMS with my dad, when I was 4, and then started private lessons. I am currently studying under Luiza Nelepcu,” said Wood.
She will be performing Mozart’s 5th Violin Concerto as soloist with the LCMS Senior Orchestra in LCMS Orchestras’ year-end virtual concert watch party.
She’s also had the school’s Rose Gellert String Quartet record my piece Celadon Waves, which won first senior prize in LCMS 2021 young composers’ competition. It will premiere sometime in June.
“This has been an incredible opportunity to come together with so many orchestras to create beautiful music and raise awareness and money for youth mental health in B.C.,” Wood said.
“This pandemic has been hard on everyone, and I know a lot of young people have struggled mentally throughout the past year,” Wood said. “I’ve been lucky that I had music to fall back on, especially during the lockdowns, as at least I was able to keep creating and moving forward, and it’s awesome to be able to come together with so many musicians (many of them I haven’t seen in over a year) for a big production that will raise money for a cause that I strongly believe in.”
LCMS principal, Carolyn Granholm is “extremely proud” of all of the students who have contributed to this “important” project.
“For many of our students, music has been their only outlet during the pandemic, giving them a way to connect and create with their peers. It has been a vital emotional support,” Granholm added.
“It has been an inspirational experience, and a true testament to the power of music. We encourage everyone to join us for this special event on May 7 and to make a donation in support of youth mental health.”
It’s free to watch on YouTube and on the Apollo Initiative’s Facebook page. Donations are accepted for the Canadian Mental Health Association’s B.C. division during the event.
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