The Senior Ensemble
The Senior Ensemble is a high performing artistic group, designed for experienced players between the ages of 14 and 18. At the Senior level, the emphasis is on growing and developing as musicians, exploring new musical ideas and artistic directions, and developing leadership. The social aspect of the program is still strong, but Senior Ensemble projects and performances are professional events with high standards for artistic quality. The kids at this level have a strong commitment and passion for music.
The Senior program provides a rich environment for artistic development. Performances are a key focus, and players typically perform in 15-20 performances per year. Rehearsals focus on the finer aspects of ensemble playing skills and on exploring new musical ideas. Every year we mount a major self-produced show, which we take from initial concept, through creative development and mastery of the material, to culminate in our Winter Concert Series. We also present an annual show to celebrate french culture and community on the west coast.
Every second year we produce a CD to showcase our music. Ensemble members are involved in all aspects of CD production, from concept and composition to sound engineering and cover art. Tours are important professional development opportunities, exposing players to new performers, venues and experiences. Extended tours are planned every two years.
Two retreats each year help to set direction for the year and to strengthen relationships among the players and directors. Players are encouraged to think about what they want to do musically over the course of the year, to set personal goals and to review progress toward them. Artistic development sessions and workshops occur throughout the year. Topics vary, but may focus on vocals, composition, percussion, a second instrument, the physics of sound, rudiments of harmony, or stage presence.A range of social gatherings round out the program, from informal jam sessions to a more organized annual ceilidh.
While some NSCE players will go on to become professional musicians, the programs are primarily focused on giving kids the skills and experiences that will make music a meaningful and lasting part of their lives.