Over the December holidays, Kaitlin Downie attended the South African National Youth Orchestra course in Johannesburg. Auditions took place in March 2017 across the country and she had to prepare a solo piece above grade 7 level and a study. Of the 100s that auditioned, only 70 people nationwide were chosen and of those 70 people, about 25 violins were chosen. She was honoured to be part of the 25 violins.
The orchestra performed Tchaikovsky’s 4th symphony and a new piece called Dance by Mattijs van Djik, a South African composer. Kaitlin was also chosen to play in the smaller chamber orchestra.
Kaitlin had the privilege of working under international renowned conductor, Sarah Ioannides from Australia. They were involved in three concerts, 2 in Johannesburg and 1 in Pretoria. One of the concerts was recorded and will be broadcast on the radio and television.
In Kaitlin’s own words: “I went to this course having no idea how I would be able to learn 3 challenging pieces in just over a week, but I left being able to play all of them and I learned so many new skills. I also realized that musicians form a bond when they practice and perform together and through this, I made many new friends.”