Young soloists take the stage in Sidney this Friday

Six musicians, from 11 to 21 years old, perform a selection of concertos at the annual event.

Rae Gallimore

For their fourth year, the Sidney Classical Orchestra is welcoming six talented young musicians to the stage for their Young Soloists concert this Friday (March 13).

It’s a prime opportunity for the musicians to get experience playing on stage with a full orchestra, says conductor Stephen Brown.

“When they’re taking lessons, they usually just play with pianists. When they play with a string orchestra, they get that feeling of support from the big group.”

Playing with a full ensemble also has its challenges, however, and that helps strengthen the musicians’ performances.

“When you play with a pianist,” says Brown, “they adjust to you if you make a mistake. That doesn’t happen in a full orchestra. It’s great experience for them.”

The musicians range from 11 to 21 years old with just as wide a range of experience on stage, but all are incredibly talented.

Sophie van der Sloot, the youngest of the group, has been playing the cello for five years and is a member of the Collegium program at the Victoria Conservatory of Music. She’ll be playing Vocalise by Rachmaninoff.

Leslie Opatril on piccolo and Rae Gallimore on viola are both finishing studies in music from Camosun College this year, and are playing concertos by Vivaldi and Telemann, respectively.

Emma Reader-Lee, a Grade 10 student at Claremont Secondary who’s been playing violin from age three, will be playing Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 3 in G major.

Jaling Kersen, 16, also has over a decade of playing experience, and will be performing Hoffmeister’s viola concerto in D major. Kersen switched from violin just three years ago.

And Leo Phanichphant, who was chosen as one of six finalists for the Don Chrysler Concerto Competition last year, will be performing Handel’s clarinet concerto. Phanichphant is a soloist and chamber musician, and has been recognized with numerous awards for his talents on the clarinet, piano and soprano saxophone.

The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 13 at St. Elizabeth’s Catholic Church, 10030 Third Street in Sidney.

Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for students and free for youth 19 years and under. Tickets are available at Tanner’s Books in Sidney, City Scribe in Brentwood Bay, and Long & McQuade in Victoria.

For more information, visit

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