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Da Vinci Code author to perform with N.B. youth orchestra

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An acclaimed American author who has sold more than 200 million novels worldwide was blown away by a group of young musicians from New Brunswick on Monday.

Dan Brown, the writer of the international sensation The Da Vinci Code, is also a musician who has written and composed Wild Symphony, which has been performed by professional orchestras around the world.

Now, he's in Moncton to narrate the production with the Sistema New Brunswick Children's Orchestra.

Before an afternoon rehearsal, Brown spoke about the project, which was 30 years in the making.

“An absolute labour of love. I'm so deeply moved to be here and hear this youth orchestra, children's orchestra, these are little kids with incredible chops,” said Brown.

Brown is sitting in with 110 musicians 14 years of age and younger.

Sistema founder and past president and CEO Ken MacLeod said it’s the only ensemble in North America where Brown is participating in person.

“There was so much anticipation to have Dan Brown with us in New Brunswick. It's been a project that's a year-and-a-half in the making. So to actually have him here and in the house, it's pretty exciting,” said MacLeod.

When he was asked to come to New Brunswick, Brown’s producer Bob Lord explained to him what Sistema does.

“I don’t do this very often, I don’t come to these performances,” said Brown. “When Bob explained to me what Sistema New Brunswick was doing for music education across all demographics, the quality of the orchestra, the level of enthusiasm, really, the focus on education that is really Sistema New Brunswick, I said, of course I'm there.”

MacLeod said Sistema's goal is to engage kids who otherwise might be left out in society.

“Music becomes this powerful, incredible tool for music and social change and social impact. And so that's what we put in front of Dan Brown,” said MacLeod.

American author Dan Brown is pictured in Moncton, N.B., on June 9, 2024.

Wild Symphony is a look at the animal kingdom through music.

It’s a full symphony, but also a picture book for families with poetry used as narration during the live performance of the music.

Brown said adults usually perform Wild Symphony for children.

“To see an orchestra of young people preparing to perform for young people was really moving,” said Brown about the morning rehearsal. “It really has been my dream for this project ever since it was created and to have it happen here, it was just really moving.

“These kids are so good. They're so talented, so enthusiastic and now I've met a whole bunch of them. We've done TikTok or something, Snapchat, I don't know what we did, but it was fun,” he said.

The world-famous author of The Da Vinci Code wasn't expecting any of the kids to know who he was when he arrived for rehearsal.

“A good number of them showed up with copies of my book, and I thought, ‘Wow,’ and then they invariably said, ‘My dad is a big fan or my mom is a big fan,’” said Brown.

The talented young musicians from around the province and the world-famous novelist will perform three shows at the Moncton Wesleyan Celebration Centre on Tuesday. 

For more New Brunswick news visit our dedicated provincial page.

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