Kamloops Symphony’s last concert of the season last weekend involved a huge choir and an augmented orchestra.
There was a work premiered with the composer in the audience. There was another in which a clarinet player — fully dressed in fishing gear — sat at the front of the stage in a makeshift boat and recreated a fishing story.
Orchestra members played with their breath as well as their assigned instruments, making whooshing sounds by breathing in a certain way.
The clarinet was the fishing rod and a fish was caught.
These two fairly short pieces formed the first half. The second half of the program was the 65-minute Carmina Burana by Carl Orff.
It was a wonderful, rousing, full-bodied, exhilarating choral work inspired by some rather raunchy medieval poetry. A choir of 200 was positioned above an orchestra of 65.
Topping it off, a children’s choir with the most glorious clear voices and perfect diction sang twice.
The orchestra had some standout performances, notably the principal flute player, Heather Beaty. The five-person percussion section accented the rising and falling emotional impact with everything from a gentle tap on a triangle to full swings onto the bass drum. It seemed every member of the orchestra and choir was fully present, with all eyes on conductor Dina Gilbert, who is amazing.
And the soloists — tenor Zack Finklestein, baritone Michael Nyby and soprano Chelsea Rus — have strong international reputations.
How does KSO do it?
This was an event worthy of a great concert hall. It is obvious we need a venue that matches Gilbert’s strength.