We walked out of our first community concert of the season with big smiles and light hearts. The North Shore Celtic Ensemble is a group of young (teenagers, maybe 16 - 18) musicians from North Vancouver, mostly fiddlers, who showcased a lot of talent but also a lot of joy.
The Ensemble consisted of about 22 violins, a flute (or something like that) drums, and keyboard. The music was complex and lively, mostly Celtic style, and much of it composed or arranged by Ensemble leaders.
The Ensemble's purpose is to "inspire kids to explore who they are as musicians, to push themselves artistically and to come into their own as socially conscious and community-minded individuals." Mission statements often sound like well-meaning words, but from watching these kids, I felt this one was really coming true. They looked inspired, confident, and happy, and they got their audience feeling that way too. While very much individuals, moving and responding to the music in different ways, they still produced music that was completely unified, and they played the entire two-hour concert without sheet music. The informal atmosphere, solos, and a little bit of singing and dancing made the whole evening more like a ceilidh than a concert. What fun.