Date: March, 1974
In 1974, the St. Catharines Youth Orchestra was one of six invited to attend the Festival of Youth Orchestras at the Banff Centre for Fine Arts. The government provided some of the funds towards the cost of transportation Banff. However, the rest had to be made up through fundraising.
The youth orchestra held a 24-hour playathon to raise the extra money needed. The orchestra and small ensembles made up of its members provided music for 24 hours.
Once the 65 members made it to Banff, the week was filled with orchestra training, sectional work, as well as training opportunities for their conductors. The youth orchestras had the opportunity to work with each of the guest conductors who had been brought in.
A bout of flu swept through the event, and almost everyone ended up sick. During rehearsals and performances, kids would dash of the stage as soon as a song was over, and return a few minutes later for the next piece.
Before the end of the festival, there was an airline strike. The youth orchestras would have to stay in Banff until transportation could be arranged, and the government covered the costs. Finally the government was able to charter a flight to get the orchestras from London, St. Catharines, and New Brunswick back to Ottawa. From Ottawa, each youth orchestra hopped on a bus to get back to their hometowns.
Edith van Dongen