The St. Catharines Junior Symphony was formed and directed under the baton of Paul van Dongen in 1965, was later renamed the St. Catharines Youth Orchestra, and in 1980 became known as the Niagara Youth Orchestra. During the early seasons, the orchestra entered the Toronto Kiwanis Music Festival, frequently placing first, and in 1969 it was invited to play at the Grand Finale Concert in Massey Hall. In centennial year, the NYO appeared at Expo '67 in Montreal and was also featured on a television segment of "Music in Your Life". In 1973, the orchestra sent an unprecedented 12 members to the National Youth Orchestra of Canada.
We proudly support the advancement of music
and the arts in Niagara, especially in our youth.
Members of the Niagara Youth Orchestra are eligible
to apply for Scholarships when graduating from high school
to assist them in their musical goals.
The NYO continues to host various national and international music groups, both orchestral and band. Members attend music festivals and workshops and 5 regular concerts.
Each season, the orchestra performs a series of three concerts, often featuring concertos and solo pieces performed by NYO members. Over the years, the NYO has released two recordings: a record in the early 1970's and "Performance '98", in CD and cassette format, in the spring of 1998. In the mid-80's, a Chamber Orchestra of committed NYO members was formed. These musicians play a wider and more varied selection of music through their own concert series.
In response to a demand for more opportunities for younger, less experienced musicians, the Junior Ensemble Program was initiated in 1985, and in 1993, became the Junior Orchestra under the baton of Laura Thomas.
We last toured in 2008 to Vienna, Austria where we placed 3rd in the Youth Orchestra Competition- we are so very proud of our musicians!
We are preparing to tour again in July 2011 where we will be playing on Canada Day in France at Vimy Ridge and the Battle site of Beaumont-Hamel. Our tour will concentrate on honouring those who fought to make our nation the true north strong and free!