Together, Susan and Andrew Uranowski have been running the Concordia Pops for 33 seasons performing
for senior citizens across Durham Region.
By Jessica Verge
The Oshawa Express
For Susan Uranowski, it all began when
she picked up the flute in a high school music
Growing up in Oshawa as one of five children,
her parents couldn’t afford music lessons.
But, as a student at Donovan CVI, Susan
realized her future lifelong passion.
The Whitby resident says, “I felt very fortunate”
of those high school music classes,
which provided her with lessons she couldn’t
have received otherwise.
But what was once the teenager’s artistic
outlet has become a major focus in Susan’s
life. She and her husband, Andrew Uranowski,
are the driving force behind the Concordia
Pops Orchestra, which gives amateur musicians
the chance to showcase their skills for
seniors who wouldn’t normally be able to
attend such performances.
The Concordia Pops plays a major role in
As a high school flutist in 1973,
she answered an ad for musicians to join a
new group established by a former member of
the Oshawa Durham Symphony Orchestra.
Unlike the ODSO, a professional symphony,
the Concordia Pops sought to provide amateur
musicians with the chance to play orchestral
Before moving to the U.S., Susan, a nurse,
played with the group for several years.
Meantime, Andrew joined as a clarinet player
and took over as conductor within a year.
When she returned to Durham Region, Susan
rejoined the group, where the two met and fell
Almost 30 years later, Andrew, a recently
retired music teacher at Anderson CVI in
Whitby, has transformed the Concordia Pops
into a volunteer, non-profit organization.
consists of 25 amateur musicians from all
walks of life—from elementary students to
engineers to 80-year-olds—who tour nursing
homes and retirement residences to bring classical
music to an audience that can’t easily
attend a public concert.“Music is something that is very important
to people and should be important throughout
their whole life,” says Andrew.
And the benefits of the concerts to the
audience are easy to see.
“We get such a warm welcome from the
seniors,” says Susan.
The group plays 10 to 12 concerts per year,
entertaining seniors with a mix of classic
orchestral pieces to nostalgic 30s and 40s
tunes to more current music. Susan and
Andrew’s daughter Kristina, a professional
singer, has also joined the group on several
occasions to share her vocals with the orchestra.
But they’re not the only family to get
Susan says the Concordia Pops currently
has around five families—parents and
children—playing in the orchestra.
She believes the orchestra is a valuable
outlet for young people, allowing them the
chance to give something back to the community
while gaining a better understanding of
seniors. Because of its community service,
high school students often join the Pops to
gain their required volunteer hours, but Susan
says it’s common to see them stay on long
after they’ve accumulated their hours.
And it’s also a way for them to improve
their skills.“We have a lot of up-and-coming talent,”
she says, pointing out their oboe player, an
But whether a musician is eight or 80, the
Concordia Pops is willing to listen. The group
generally auditions new members (who must
be able to read music) in September and after
For more information, call 905-668-5679
or email firstname.lastname@example.org.