A regional group of musicians is finally getting back to hitting the high notes.
After laying low due to COVID-19, the Bay Light Orchestra will be back in operation in September from its new home base in Elmvale.
“The orchestra was formed just before the pandemic in October 2018,” said founder Hilary Braime, a professional musician and teacher based in Tiny.
“It has entertained much of our community from seniors homes to successful concerts in Midland before the pandemic stymied the development and potential of the organization.
The local, non-profit community orchestra strives to foster a strong artistic future for the community, according to Braime.
“Local musicians who have been forced to play alone due to the pandemic can now breathe a sigh of relief,” Braime said, noting the orchestra’s repertoire runs the full gamut from classical favourites to modern pop.
“There is a wealth of wonderful music that is not too heavy and is designed to appeal to a greater variety of tastes in music,” she said, noting that can range from popular classical music, film music, music from a variety of rock groups like Queen and “basically any music for easy listening that reflects the relaxed atmosphere of Georgian Bay.”
And now, the orchestra is interested in recruiting new members with a goal of starting rehearsals after Labour Day.
“Bay Light Orchestra is proud to be part of such a creative and artistic community and we are always delighted to welcome new players and board members to our organization as well as sponsors and partners in the community,” Braime said.
“We welcome string, woodwind, brass and percussion players,” she said, noting those interested can contact the orchestra through its website or Facebook page.
Prior to the pandemic, the group had more than 20 members and they’re hoping to expand to around 50.
As far as musicians are concerned, Braime said they don’t hold auditions, but potential players are required to be able to read music, sight-read to a reasonable level and have the dedication to attend a weekly two-hour rehearsal.
“We chose Elmvale as a base for the orchestra as it was not too far for travel for musicians in Midland, Penetang, Barrie, Collingwood and Orillia,” Braime said.
“We wanted to serve the North Simcoe region. We also took into consideration the rising cost of gas for travelling and the hardships faced by many local residents. We are hoping to secure the use of the Elmvale High School and are awaiting confirmation.”
But Braime said the group members didn’t sit still during the COVID restrictions and lockdowns, but instead worked to obtain a Midland municipal grant that enabled the organization to produce podcasts entitled Midland Makes Music that featured “amazing” local musicians and groups.
“It is always the mission of the orchestra to advocate and secure a robust musical future for our community,” she said, noting their podcast episodes included articles about Ariko, an award-winning French Canadian folk group based in Tiny, and Dylan Lock, who believed that music would uplift hearts by streaming live music from his driveway in Victoria Harbour while raising money for various charities.
To check out the podcasts and learn more about the orchestra, click here.