FOR RELEASE OCTOBER 29, 2018 (Victoria, BC) – The Victoria Symphony presents My Name is Amanda Todd, a new composition by Vancouver’s Jocelyn Morlock that honours the brief life and legacy of a cyber-bullied teenager. This first concert of the orchestra’s Explorations series also includes Ouroboros by Jordan Nobles, Remnant Shoreline by Beka Simms, and Dear Life by Zosha DiCastri, inspired by the iconic short stories of Alice Munro. The concert is presented Saturday, November 10, 2018 at 8pm at the Dave Dunnet Community Theatre, 2121 Cadboro Bay Road, Victoria.

Amanda Todd was a 15-year-old girl in Port Coquitlam who loved singing and who dreamed of one day performing on the big stage. She tragically took her own life on October 10, 2012 after years of harassment and bullying at school and online. Before her death Amanda posted a video on YouTube, using flashcards to share her story and to speak out against bullying.

When composer Jocelyn Morlock was commissioned by the National Arts Centre Orchestra to compose the music for My Name is Amanda Todd, she met with Amanda’s mother Carol, who told her that Amanda’s online video was the spark for positive change and has since become a beacon for the Amanda Todd Legacy Foundation. “Amanda’s message of hope, empathy, and tolerance has since caused a worldwide groundswell of support and awareness of bullying, cyber abuse and internet safety”, Morlock said.

Morlock expresses the forceful nature of social media throughout the composition. “Musically, the opening draws first on overwhelming sorrow, which grows into a furtive, somewhat frenzied negative energy, like the uncontrolled proliferation of negative comments and images” she says. “I then use almost the same musical material (very similar small gestures, pitches and rhythms) and gradually modify it to create increasingly powerful, positive music, like the proliferation of positive energy that a large group of people can create together through many small actions.”

“Amanda loved music, and found her voice through music, art and multi-media,” says Carol Todd. “We believe this performance will inspire hope and is a message about humanity and how we must treat each other to be better people.”

The Victoria Symphony recognizes the concert is an opportunity to open a dialogue with students about cyber-bullying and to show them its impact first-hand. High School students from across Victoria, Saanich and Sooke school districts have been invited to attend a concert rehearsal and to hear a message from Amanda’s mother, Carol Todd, followed by a question and answer period with Carol and composer, Jocelyn Morlock.

Conducted by Bill Linwood, the November 10 concert also includes Jordan Nobles’ 2016 composition, Ouroboros – passacaglia for orchestra, inspired by images from the Hubble Space Telescope, and Beka Simms’ Remnant Shoreline inspired by climate changes of the past, present and future. The concert concludes with Dear Life by composer Zosha DiCastri. Based on the writings of Nobel Prize winner Alice Munro, Dear Life features soprano Betty Wayne Allison and recorded narration by legendary actor Martha Henry.

Explaining her approach to the work, composer DiCastri says “I admired Munro’s flow, her flashes of memories half-recalled, perhaps fictional, perhaps autobiographical — ambiguous and at times startlingly straightforward. And so, I have attempted to tell the story in my way: through music, sound, and experimentation. Martha Henry’s voice guides us through the adapted text as our trusted narrator. The singer, however, is treated differently. Her material is made of fragmented text and invented sounds, a visceral response bridging the divide between the abstractness of the music and the concreteness of the spoken word. Her presence comes in and out of focus both musically and dramaturgically. At the beginning, her voice is fused with the orchestra, but gradually she emerges as a distinct, independent entity.”

Tickets are $20-$25 and can be purchased here.