It was another night at the symphony, but not just any night and not just any symphony.
The opening night of conductor Dina Gilbert’s third season with the Kamloops Symphony Orchestra delivered on Romantic Elements, as promised.
From the tuning up of sounds to the sweetness of guest soloist Timothy Chooi’s encore, the large audience was in thrall.
From its beginnings in a school gym in Westsyde 43 years ago, the musical ensemble has been an enduring made-in-Kamloops orchestra. To prove the point, two original members of that fledgling orchestra still participate in every concert. Musicians are volunteer or are paid and come from Kamloops and beyond.
Past conductors include: James Verity, Robert Ryker, Gordon Walter, Juliet Proudman, Czerslaw Gladyszewski James Verity and Bruce Dunn.
Last weekend’s opening event was a masterful program.
First, a lovely imagining by Jean Ethridge of Salmon Arm of four elements: earth, air, fire and water. The audience was told it grew from a casual conversation between composer and conductor via a summer of doubtlessly intense work and onto the music stands of conductor and 41 orchestra members.
Warmed by the gravity, lightness, joy and calmness of the above, the audience was immediately plunged into the bursting energy of Felix Mendelsohn’s First Symphony, followed by a thoroughly captivating performance of Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s only violin concerto. From the moment Chooi shot his bow in the air, seemingly lifting his whole body from his feet, attendees were on a grand ride. His standing ovation was well-deserved.
A note on venues
The symphony’s next concert, The Music of Chicago, will be staged at Sagebrush Theatre, which has been closed much of the year due to roof truss issues.
Looking back, the Oasis Church in Aberdeen has been a superb home since the first March concert. One can only imagine the changes to scheduling needed or the accommodation that allowed for creating a larger stage in the worship space. Pastor Marco Bessa and his congregation have been friends in need, indeed.
The Music of Chicago takes place Oct. 25 and Oct. 26 at 7:30 p.m. at Sagebrush Theatre, 1300 Ninth Ave. Tickets are $48, or $10 for youth under 19, available at the Kamloops Live box office, 1025 Lorne St., 250-374-5483 or online at kamloopslive.ca.