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NAC Orchestra’s Community Engagement Programs

0 Ann Drinan

Many orchestras are designing outreach programs, in order for their musicians to become more involved with their community. One of the more successful community engagement programs is that of the National Arts Centre Orchestra (NAC Orchestra) in Ottawa. In 2006 Polyphonic published two articles about NAC Orchestra’s outreach to Canada’s aboriginal population. NAC tours nationally and, while on tour, performs extensively for children, particularly students of First Nation schools, using an especially innovative program.

In her article “On Tour with Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra: Reaching Out to Aboriginal Children,” former Education Director Clare Speed describes in detail how the orchestra put together their outreach programs, particularly their in-depth outreach program designed entirely for students who attend First Nations (reserve) schools.

In a companion article, “Performing for Aboriginal Children: An Interview with Douglas Burden,” bass trombonist Doug Burden talks with Yvonne Caruthers about the experiences of his 7-piece brass ensemble when performing for First Nation children. He goes on to explain how the brass group integrated aboriginal customs with western customs in their presentation to the kids, and describe the welcome dance they received from students and elders of the community they visited.

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