To say there’s a lot of talent in this valley is one thing; to show it is quite another.
This is the theory behind the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra’s unique drum-roll introducing each concert season—a press conference that often reminds one of a more grownup show-and-tell.
This week, an opera singer, a violin player and a spunky, young multi-talented high school student joined OSO music director and conductor Rosemary Thomson and general manager Scott Wilson as they tried to take the musical wonder that is the orchestra, one of the valley’s oldest cultural institutions, and make it sound exciting, even in print.
Like all arts and culture staples in the province, the orchestra has had to really work to survive the lean post-Olympic world of government cutbacks.
“Very importantly, we are also pleased to report that our projected fiscal year end shows close to break even position,” said Wilson as he launched the event.
He was quick to point out this is actually a rarity for a small orchestra like the OSO at the moment.
Last season Wilson announced the OSO would embark on a subscription and fundraising drive intended to breath new life into their bank accounts and hopefully place the orchestra on solid financial footing for the future—and it appears to be working.
With help from the Central Okanagan Foundation and a Canada council grant, this season will bring a special collaboration with Ballet Kelowna which Thomson has been dreaming of since she arrived in the valley.
The Falcon’s Trumpet, as the collaboration is called, will see the orchestra recorded and its music sent on tour with the dancers as they perform in communities around the province.
Celebrated Canadian composer R. Murray Schaffer—currently in Brazil where he just sold 78,000 of his textbooks to the Brazilian government for teachers to use in the country’s schools—wrote The Falcon’s Trumpet. Ballet Kelowna’s artistic director David LaHay, did the choreography for the dancers.
Lead trumpet will see celebrated trumpeter Guy Few on Okanagan stages conveying Schaffer’s ability to connect with nature and compose music from his surroundings.
Schaffer apparently placed musicians around the lake, at points where they could not see one another, to improvise in a natural setting, feeding off the wildlife and sounds of the shoreline.
Schafer only recently got a phone, he’s so noise averse, and protects his ears like many musicians might covet their favourite instrument. This kind of eccentricity only appears to make him more interesting to work with for the music director who will take the collaborative project one level further and work with the creative and critical studies department at UBCO to help students hone in on the process of creating and the role collaboration plays in art.
Kelowna’s performance of The Falcon’s Trumpet runs Friday, Oct. 21, 8 p.m., in the Kelowna Community Theatre (Sunday, Oct. 23, 7 p.m. at the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre).
It will be followed by the final performances of the year, Mozart’s Requiem in November and Ringing in the Season, the OSO Christmas concert, in December.
This year’s Christmas performance will include a holiday bells showcase, thanks to a suggestion from an audience member in a previous season.
Tickets and subscriptions are still available.
See the web site www.okanagansymphony.com for online details or call 250-979-7031.