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Review: The pros and cons of KSO’s online concerts

Now that online concerts have become the norm, let’s consider the advantages and disadvantages.
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Solemn Contemplation, the third in the Kamloops Symphony Orchestra’s 2020-2021 virtual season, was recorded at the Oasis Church on Roger’s Way.

Now that online concerts have become the norm, let’s consider the advantages and disadvantages.

The advantages: your chair, your schedule, freedom to cough, freedom to eat candy from crinkly wrappers and freedom to drink at your seat.

What you miss: chatting with your friends, rubbing shoulders with musical types, checking out the better dressed, sensing the awesome hush as the conductor advances to the podium, knowing the magical combination of audience and performers is about to begin.

The KSO is offering two alternatives in this time of pandemic.

Both are at a minimal cost and both need to be pre-booked.

You either buy a ticket that allows you to watch with the advantages mentioned for a time period that begins with “opening night’” or you wait a week and watch in a cinema on a Sunday afternoon at one of two times.

Thinking about these choices in regards to the concert that opened on Nov. 21, Solemn Contemplation, choosing the cinema option presents a problem.

This music plays as much on the metaphorical heart strings as on the five string sections of the orchestra.

As the notes explain, the program was designed as a healing tool.

A piano part augments the strings (in this case, the less satisfying keyboard) in the work by Montreal composer and painter Julie Thériault, only strings in the second work by Toronto composer and pianist Larysa Kuzmenko and strings plus exquisite voices in Giovanni Pergolesi’s interpretation of the Sabat Mater.

The action on the screen will be distracting.

I will be taking sneak peeks at the conductor, Dina Gilbert, and perhaps longer gazes as Elyse Jacobsen masters the violin solos.

Oh, and I will probably watch cellists Martin Kratky and Doug Gorkoff when I hear deep resonating sounds shift to barely audible.

I will still be curious as to where on the stage at the Oasis Church the soloists, Sinéad White and Shane Hanson were standing. Mostly, my eyes will be closed.

To accompany your attendance — whether at home or in the cinema — there is an excellent program on the KSO website ( that opens with a dedication in memory of Don Bennett and contains most helpful notes, including the text and translation for the Sabat Mater.

Be prepared for an amazing experience. The performance is available online until Dec. 20.

And, if you haven’t yet seen the KSO’s Phantom of the Opera performance, it is available until Nov. 29.

Next up is the annual Christmas event — a collection of whimsical holiday music that opens on Dec. 13 and continues through Jan. 9.

Tickets for all events are available online at