It was Norah Langton’s dream to see a community orchestra in Brantford.
The 50-year city music teacher who was heavily involved in the local music scene, including the Brantford Symphony Orchestra, the Brantford Memorial Concert Band and the Brantford Youth Symphony Orchestra, always wanted the community to have an orchestra of its own.
Three years after her death, her son Karl Langton is hoping to make that dream a reality.
Together with the Brantford School of Instrumental Music, Langton has plans to start the Brantford Community Orchestra this fall.
“Brantford is growing and we have lots of musical opportunities in this city,” he said. “The one thing we are lacking, though, is a community orchestra. It’s a real thrill to perform in public and we would just like to be able to share that thrill with people.”
Unlike the city’s professional orchestra, the Brantford Symphony Orchestra, the Brantford Community Orchestra won’t require a professional audition.
“The majority of the Brantford Symphony Orchestra (performers) come from out of town and I guess the reason for that is to be a professional orchestra you need to have pretty high standards and professional musicians and auditions,” Langton said. “Anybody from Brantford who isn’t at the professional level or caliber that meets the standard of the Brantford Symphony just has nowhere to perform.
“We are hoping that we can fill that void with retired musicians or semi-professional musicians and even amateur musicians who would like to take part in a completely local community orchestra.”
Weekly practices are set to begin at the Memorial Band Hall at 32 Marlborough St. on Sept. 12. Langton hopes to hold the orchestra’s first of many regular concerts in May 2013.
The Brant Suzuki String School has donated music to the orchestra and the Memorial Band Hall, part of the Brantford School of Instrumental Music, comes equipped with music stands and seating.
“We have a place, we have music, we have interest from the community,” Langton said. “We just need to generate enough publicity for the word to get out on a bigger scale so we can draw people from the community.”
Word has already reached Deb McLoughlin, conductor of the Brantford Youth Symphony Orchestra, who said she’s very much interested in the idea.
“I’m a musician and, because of that, I think it would be very good to have an amateur orchestra in Brantford where people can come to play orchestral music,” she said.
The trumpet and French horn player plans to join the community orchestra when it gets off the ground. She said it will be a great place for musicians in the Brantford Youth Symphony Orchestra to graduate to.
The Brantford Community Orchestra will have no age limit and no audition process.
“We accept people of all ages,” Langton said. “All you need to do is be able to read music and play an instrument.”
As the orchestra slowly becomes reality, Langton said he knows his mother would be proud.
“She would be really thrilled,” he said. “I’m deeply moved by being able to try this. If it actually happens, I’m going to be thrilled.”
A formal registration date for the Brantford Community Orchestra will be held on Saturday, Sept. 8, at noon in the Brantford Memorial Band Hall. Interested musicians can contact Langton at 519-753-7931 or e-mail email@example.com for more information.