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COVID-19 concerns will delay start to Saskatoon Youth Orchestra season until January

SYO Inc. posted on Sunday, September 20, 2020 8:46 PM
Following a board meeting on Sept. 12, 2020 a decision was made that the Saskatoon Youth Orchestra and Saskatoon Strings seasons will tentatively begin January 10, 2021 and end by May 30, 2021.
This changes the length of our season, which normally begins the week after the Labour Day weekend, from eight months to five months. The SYO leadership had previously delayed that start date until no sooner than October. The new decision doubled-down on putting safety and caution before the joy of making music. 
In a message to its players, the board said the health and safety of its families, staff and communities is of primary importance to the Saskatoon Youth Orchestra Inc., and said it made this decision in keeping with the directives of the province's Chief Medical Health Officer and to honour the student cohorting that is occurring within schools.  
The SYO Inc. board wants to monitor how school reopening is progressing prior to bringing students from various schools and communities together for rehearsals.  
The SYO Inc. is made up of two ensembles: a full orchestra of players aged 14-25 and a strings orchestra for players aged 10-18. The older ensemble was slated to have 67 players come from communities like Saskatoon, Regina, Kinistino, Humboldt, Lloydminster, Outlook, Blackstrap Lake and Provost, Alta. The Saskatoon Strings was slated to have 29 players from Saskatoon and area.
The previous orchestra season ended abruptly in March, 2020 when COVID-19 forced the cancellation of the remaining rehearsals and the final concert.
"This is the time of tough decisions, and while every part of my musical self wants to start SYO right away, I know we are making the right decision to delay the start of our season until January," said SYO Music Director Richard Carnegie in a message to the young players. "When I was your age, youth orchestra was a major part of my musical and social world. I carry and treasure those musical experiences and friendships with me to this day. I know we all miss music making right now; and making music is always better with friends. Without band happening in some schools and without university and other ensembles running, music has to become more isolated -- for now. When we resume, I along with all of you, plan to show through our music making how much music connects us not only with our audience but with each other."