Youth Engagement Program

Give the Gift of Music

Foster tomorrow’s stars!

Imagine a world in which talent alone determines whether young, enthusiastic musicians can develop their skills and grow. You can help build this world!

We are envisioning a program to provide a select number of high school-aged violin students with valuable opportunities. There will be two sections:

  • A bursary for several talented young musicians. $2000 per year will be paid directly to each student’s violin teacher. To fulfill the terms of the bursary, the student commits to playing in all OCO rehearsals and performances of the given season (a small number of reasonable absences will be allowed). Applicants’ financial needs will be considered.
  • An endowment fund for a violin bank. A decent quality student violin costs approximately $5000. With an endowment funded by legacy donations, we intend to provide a quality violin to promising but disadvantaged students. Our hope is that the fund will grow over time and make the purchase of even higher quality violins possible. The instruments will remain the property of OCO.

Our overall goal is an endowment of at least $100,000 to make the bursaries and instrument purchases self-sustaining.

Who will receive my support?

Applicants must be 12 to 19 years of age, reside within Halton Region, and have completed the Royal Conservatory of Music Grade 8 performing exam, with a standard of Honours or First Class Honours. Candidates will submit a performance video and complete a brief questionnaire concerning the family’s financial standing.

A small number of applicants will then play a live audition, for a jury consisting of OCO’s Music Director Charles Demuynck and our two professional principal violinists. Meanwhile, members of OCO’s board will review the financial questionnaires and make recommendations to the jury; performance in the audition and financial need will both play a role in the selection of the winners.

What will my support achieve?

The bursary will cover a significant portion of each winner’s annual lesson fees. Our short-term target is to have the program running in the 2024–25 season with one student and expand from there. Three violinists participating in 3 to 4 years are the mid-term goal. As a long-term prospect, the program can then be expanded to other instruments.

A proven track record of developing young talent With the help of the Optimists’ Club of Oakville, OCO has given nearly $20,000 over 11 years to 54 winners of our Youth Concerto Competition. Nearly all of these winners have gone on to become professionals, some with prestigious orchestras. Winners perform in our subscription concerts, and this provides a highly valuable experience in their professional development.

Justin Saulnier holding his violin and bow.
Sunny Zhai at her piano

How can I get involved?

You have two options to participate as a donor. No matter which one you choose, you’ll make a significant contribution to the growth of local musical talent!

Sponsor a student: For your donation of $2000, you will be a young musician’s benefactor and have a direct impact on his or her musical future. OCO will give you opportunities to get acquainted with the student and encourage a sense of community around concert performances.

Donate towards the endowment fund: Make a more significant donation either now or in your will. What a great way to ensure a legacy of musical participation in our community!

A proven track record of developing young talent

Oakville Chamber Orchestra is a registered charity. All individual donations will receive a tax receipt for charitable purposes. Corporate donations are also welcome and may be 100% deductible as an advertising or promotional expense. Donations can be made on our website.

Thank you for your interest!

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