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Strauss, singer welcome in new year

A full theatre of concert-goers came out Jan. 1 for some musical New Year's cheer from the Kamloops Symphony Orchestra. In keeping with the Viennese tradition, the concert consisted almost entirely of music by the Strauss family: Johann Strauss Sr.

A full theatre of concert-goers came out Jan. 1 for some musical New Year's cheer from the Kamloops Symphony Orchestra.

In keeping with the Viennese tradition, the concert consisted almost entirely of music by the Strauss family: Johann Strauss Sr. and his sons Josef and, the most famous of all, Johann Jr.

The program opened with the overture, the polka and The Laughing Song from the opera Die Fledermaus, written by Johann Jr., and continued through the concert with waltzes, a polka, quadrille, mazurka and polonaise: all dances of the 19th century in Europe.

The highlights of the concert were provided by soprano Melanie Krueger, who was previously heard with the KSO in March 2000 in the memorable performance of Concerto for Violin and Orchestra by Imant Raminsh.

Krueger is currently a graduate student at University of British Columbia music school, where she is majoring in opera.

She sang The Laughing Song and Voices of Spring with a strong, clear and rich voice, apparently effortlessly and with a large measure of joie de vivre.

She also sang The Doll Song by Offenbach, the only non-Strauss work of the concert. In this, she delighted an already captivated audience with her jerky doll-light movements, blinking eyes, and winding down, which, of course, required winding up by director Bruce Dunn, with appropriate sound effects from the percussion section.

The program came to a rousing close with Johann Sr.'s Radetskty March, featuring Coun. Sharon Frissell as guest conductor. Her impromptu performance followed Dunn's instruction to "stop beating when the music stops."

It was a light, bouyant and cheerful concert, a fitting welcome to the new year.