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June 29, 2020

Dear students, parents, and guardians,

This has certainly been a challenging time for us all, but it is especially difficult for not for profit organizations like the Surrey Youth Orchestra. Fortunately, we have truly outstanding and dedicated people committed to providing both top level instruction and the opportunity to display the talents and hard work of our students through public performance. I hope you have all seen the YouTube videos of our four orchestras’ year end virtual concerts which demonstrate not only the creative genius of all involved, but also the determination behind the well-known phrase “The show must go on!” Thank you to everyone who made this possible, especially an enormous amount of kudos go to our conductors Joel Stobbe, Andrea Taylor, and Ben Goheen, and our Administrator Ruth Sun.

Mid-March saw the shutdown of many things. As the shock and chaos of a pandemic cleared out our streets and halls of social activity, creativity within ourselves continued and so very many hours were spent figuring out what to do and learning new technology in preparation for the final concert. Skype, Zoom, and other platforms became common for private lessons and meetings. Although the Scholarship Competition was not held, I do have the names of the winners of the Margaret Labelle Leadership Awards to share with you. The recipients of these non-monetary awards are nominated by their conductors for showing great leadership skills through their exemplary behaviour including enthusiasm, stepping up, following instructions, preparedness, attentiveness, displaying a positive attitude, and good attendance.

Preludes Strings Orchestra     – Nathan Shin & Estelle Shin

Intermezzo Strings Orchestra – Kathy Ren

Symphonic Strings Orchestra – Sara El-Kobtan

Senior Orchestra                     – Annis Lee & Aurora Wai

Congratulations to our worthy recipients! Your certificates will be mailed to you shortly.

We have been working on various ways of delivering instruction this coming season. Until we get much closer to start up time in September, we cannot say with full certainty what that will look like, but we have been discussing a variety of things, such as partial in person/partial video -zoom rehearsals at the same time, split orchestras, sectionals, etc. all with social distancing. We have been considering the individual orchestras and the whole body of orchestras, when students arrive and when they depart, parent drop-off, staggered timing, cleaning procedures, especially between Prelude Strings and Intermezzo Strings, wind instrument implications, and, of course, always socially distancing, as well as many other factors. You will be informed before September 12 exactly what that first rehearsal will look like. Please know that we are determined to keep you safe.

I am very encouraged to see so many students returning this year, and I hope those who have not applied nor auditioned yet, that you will do so in August. We have kept the tuition fees the same as last year’s fees and remind those who are experiencing financial restraints, of payment plans and bursary applications. Please check with Ruth and/or our website for more information.

Thank you all for a wonderful season, have a happy summer, and we’ll see you in the fall!

Stay healthy!

Sue Anderlini


Surrey Symphony Society