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Should Yellowknife have a permanent orchestra?

“We kind-of have an ad-hoc orchestra habit,” admits Jo Pamplin.

Pamplin is part of a new Yellowknife orchestra learning elements of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition and Dvorak’s New World Symphony.

The group of 20 or so performers will play at an event in partnership with the Borderless Art Movement – which unites music with painting and other art forms – at the end of January.

The city has no permanent orchestra presence. Instead, groups come together like this from time to time for specific performances. Now, some of the musicians involved hope that will change.

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“This should be an ongoing thing, period,” said Maureen Crotty-Williams, who plays the flute in this latest incarnation of a Yellowknife orchestra.

“Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Look at all these people that come out. We’ve got seven violins, we’ve never seen that before. It’s great.

“When you hear this amazing music wash over you each week, it fires you up. It’s the best two hours of my week.”

‘A wonderful outlet’

Pamplin, who plays the clarinet, has been the driving force behind the creation of the orchestra. The group, conducted by Bill Gilday, held its third rehearsal on Saturday.

“I’ve been here for about 18 years and participated in three orchestras,” Pamplin told Moose FM. Previous performances featured Peter and the Wolf and The Planets.

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“A permanent orchestra would be awesome, I’m not going to lie,” she added.

“I’m a bit of an orchestra junkie – it’s way different than playing solo music or chamber music, to be part of this big group making all of this sound. It’s phenomenal.

“We’ll see. If people are interested, we can look at keeping it up.”

Crotty-Williams said: “Jo has to arrange all the music so that might be the thing that’s making her think of a reality check – or, if you rent the full scores, that requires a budget – so there are a few hurdles.

“But this is a wonderful, wonderful outlet. I don’t think Jo realizes how much of an impact it has, especially when you see older folks that haven’t played for years.

“Now, come Saturday mornings, their kids are grown and gone so they get to be cool again – back to their youth with rehearsals.”

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