Ken Macleod reacted with a mixture of excitement and surprise when he learned that the New Brunswick Youth Orchestra (NBYO) had won a one-way ticket to New York’s legendary Carnegie Hall.
“We got this amazing email,” Macleod, the orchestra’s president and CEO, recalled in a phone interview Thursday.
“‘Mr. Macleod, we came across your orchestra’s video, we thought it was great…and the next sentence was Music Celebrations International would like to officially invite the New Brunswick Youth Orchestra to perform on the main stage from Carnegie Hall.
Macleod said the invitation came after a viral video made by members of the NBYO in April applauding an advertisement for an Infiniti car that made fun of young musicians. The Viennase Masters Orchestra Invitational only accepts four orchestras to audition each year.
The viral video, which has over 109,000 views, served as an audition for NBYO.
Macleod said the original car ad presented an old stereotype of youth and bad music. With more than 1,000 young people involved in multiple orchestra ensembles, he said their experience is far from stereotypical.
“We just felt we had to, in a way, wave the flag and trumpet our young musicians, their talent, their performance and their excellence,” Macleod said. “So the fact that this invitation came as a result of this video is really quite wonderful.”
Once in the Big Apple in June 2023, the orchestra will perform the works of Viennese composers such as Joseph Haydn, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Ludwig van Beethoven. They will also participate in workshops with the New York Philharmonic and city tours.
Macleod said he was grateful for the opportunity to bring New Brunswick youth to the world stage.
“One of the benefits of an offer like this is that it will really inspire our children to reach even higher levels of performance,” he said. “I think everyone is going to be very motivated to do our best.”
Macleod said the orchestra wanted to stage a local performance of its repertoire at Carnegie Hall, and there was even talk of including selections on an album.
“The musicians of the New Brunswick Youth Orchestra are truly ambassadors on the world stage for our province, so this is both a lesson in humility and an incredibly proud moment for New Brunswick,” said Macleod.
“One of the things we said in our video was that our kids can shine on any stage anywhere and watch what happened – an invitation to perform at Carnegie Hall.”