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Orchestra to mark 20 years with Mother's Day concert

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Mother's Day is a special day for moms across the district, but there's an additional special occasion to celebrate this Sunday.

The Borderland Community Orchestra will be holding a Mother's Day concert at 2:00 p.m. at the Townshend Theatre to celebrate its 20th anniversary.

A special anniversary asks for a special concert, and the Borderland Community Orchestra has taken that into consideration.

“Because it's the 20th anniversary, we're getting all of our favourite pieces from over the years,” said Katelyn Bruyere, a Fort Frances High School student who plays First Violin with the orchestra.

“So a whole variety of different songs, we're getting up together and we're getting a whole bunch of past members back as well. We're going to play as one big group for Mother's Day.”

Along with highlights from past orchestra shows, Bruyere says that there will be a vocal component to the concert as well.

“We also have some songs with the big Borderland Community Orchestra choir,” she said.

The choir is being directed by Renée Martin-Brown and will collaborate with the orchestra on two songs.

While some organizations might be content with contacting past members who are still in town to take part in a reunion, the Borderland Community Orchestra has gone above and beyond in their efforts.

Kirsten Johnson was a member of the orchestra when it began, and even though she has since moved to Ottawa, she has every intention of being at, and performing in, the concert on Sunday.

“I have friends in Fort Frances who told me about the concert and said 'How would you like to come to this anniversary concert?'” Johnson recalled.

“So I said 'Give me the music and I'll try.'”

Johnson said she's been working with her violin teacher in Ottawa to learn the music for the concert.

“She helped me sort out some of the rhythms, and then I just practice on my own,” she said.

“I listened to a few things on YouTube and set my metronome to the metronome markings that are on the music that I have, and I just try. It's fun”

Johnson said she's excited to come back to Fort Frances to participate in the concert and visit with friends she hasn't seen in years, but noted that the weather has been conspiring against her.

“There's been flooding so highways have been closed, so who knows?” she said.

“And it takes us 20 hours to get there, so we'll see.”

Bruyere said she's excited to have so many previous members of the orchestra rejoin the ranks.

“I know that in the first violin section we're going from like four people up to 10 people,” she said.

“So I know it's going to fill out in the other sections as well. It will be really fun.”

Event organizer Margaret Sedgwick said in an email that one of the notable aspects of the orchestra is that it's an international effort, with musicians from both sides of the border joining forces to create music.

“Larry and Nancy Cole have a large van and pick up a full van of musicians from Williams and Baudette, MN and Rainy River,” she explained.

“They are the orchestra barometers. If Larry won't drive due to weather, practice is cancelled as Larry is very committed and only cancels under the most severe weather conditions!”

Bruyere encouraged everyone to attend the concert on Sunday to celebrate the orchestra and Mother's Day.

“Not only is it a great thing to do with your mother, if you want to treat her to something like dinner and a show,” Bruyere said.

“But it's also just a whole bunch of fun songs and it's getting all of these like generations of players in the orchestra coming back and playing. It's going to be really exciting.”

Johnson said that as long as the weather co-operates, and the roads are clear, she'll be taking up her spot in the Borderland Community Orchestra on Sunday, just like old times.

“It depends on a whole lot of things, but we're planning on it,” she said.

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