Ben Parker has come a long way from when he first taught himself how to play the trumpet.
The 16-year-old St. Michaels University student is the first trumpet soloist ever to perform at Victoria Symphony Splash, one of the largest orchestra concerts in North America in August.
“I’m very excited and a little bit nervous just because of the sheer scale of the event, but I’m just happy to go out there and play,” Parker said. “It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
Parker’s love for the instrument began when he was seven years old.
“My dad used to play the trumpet, but he got braces so he had to stop. He always wanted me to play the trumpet and eventually we went down to the trumpet store in Turkey and picked one up,” said Parker.
For the first year, he took it upon himself to learn how to play it.
In the past, he played the piano, but after making a “sound right off the bat,” Parker knew the trumpet was the instrument for him.
“I really like the sound and the way it feels when you’re playing. It resonates with your mouth and lungs. It’s just very intimate when you’re playing it,” said Parker who plays with the Greater Victoria Youth Orchestra.
“I would just play tunes I was inspired to play. I’m still American, so I played the Star Spangled Banner every day. I just learned note for note what the tunes were and that gave me good ear training methods to learn the instrument.”
Parker has been practicing for his debut at Splash where he will be performing the arutunian trumpet concerto, a piece he’s quite familiar with.
Parker is one of two soloists who will be performing at the 26th annual Victoria Symphony Splash on Sunday, Aug. 2. The concert fundraiser supports education and outreach programs of the Victoria Symphony and is expected to draw as many as 45,000 people to the Inner Harbour.
“In the past, we’ve focused on music and getting people to listen and this year Tania Miller has chosen music that will really get people up and engaged with the music by dancing,” said Sarah Head, marketing and splash coordinator. “We hope people will have a greater appreciation of orchestra and classical music.”
The event also includes a family zone, food vendors, fireworks and performances by soloist Rebecca Bracewell and The Midnights from 1-9:45 p.m.