Symphony tuning up for Christmas concert

Tickets are selling fast for the Symphony of the Kootenays’ Christmas-themed concert in Cranbrook on Nov. 30

Music/artistic director Jeff Faragher (at right

The Symphony of the Kootenays is preparing for its Christmas concert at the end of the month, and already seats in the audience are being snapped up.

“Tickets are moving very quickly. We are having to print more tickets as we speak. It exceeded our expectations,” said Steen Jorgensen, president of the symphony.

The concert, titled “A World of Joy”, will be held at the Cranbrook Alliance Church on Saturday, Nov. 30, at 7:30 p.m.

The symphony will be joined by the Symphony of the Kootenays Chorus for the concert. The 50-person chorus consists of members of Sun Valley Song, with some new voices added for this event.

In the first half of the program, the symphony will perform Arcangelo Corelli’s Concerto Grosso in G Minor, followed by the Nutcracker Suite by Tchaikovsky, both popular pieces.

After the interval, the chorus will perform a modern piece by U.S. composer Christopher Rouse. Titled “Karolju”, it features festive music from around the globe.

“We’ve gone away from the traditional … and we’ve gone into something that sounds similar but they are new works,” said Jorgensen.

Before the concert, the symphony will open the doors of its final rehearsal on November 30 from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the Alliance Church for free.

“People will come and go during that hour and a half and listen to various parts,” said Jorgensen. “It’s a way for people to take ownership of the symphony because they see the difficulties they are having. And many times people will come to the performance to see if they have worked through some of those difficulties.”

It’s one of just three rehearsals that will bring the symphony together before the performance. The symphony is made up of performers from the East and West Kootenay, augmented with a handful of musicians from Calgary when there aren’t enough local musicians.

“We are the smallest community in Canada to host a professional symphony orchestra. We call it the gem of our cultural mosaic. It’s extraordinary that we are able to do this,” said Jorgensen.

The Symphony of the Kootenays took a one-year hiatus in 2012, and came back last month with a concert, “New Beginnings” at the Key City Theatre, attended by almost 400 people. With a new board and a new artistic and music director, Jeff Faragher, the rejuvenated symphony garnered masses of support from the community.

“It was the first time in our memory that we’ve had a standing ovation at the interval, not even at the end of the concert,” said Jorgensen. “We were just so excited. The musicians did wonderful, Jeff did a great job. We were just so happy.”

Memberships in the symphony and donations to the volunteer-run association continue to flood in.

“We took a year off but we are certainly glad that now we have come back people have embraced it. It’s very gratifying.”

On the back of this support, the board and music director are already laying plans for the 2014-2015 season. In the meantime, there are three more exciting concerts planned for 2014.

On Saturday, Feb. 1, the symphony will be joined by the five-member Juno-award nominated Sultans of String, performing world popular music for all ages. The concert will be held at the Key City Theatre at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 1.

The following day, Sunday, Feb. 2 at 2 p.m. at the Key City Theatre, six-string violinist and band leader Chris McKhool will perform a children’s and family concert, “Fiddle Fire”, with the symphony.

To conclude the season, the symphony will be led by Mount Baker Secondary School music director Evan Bueckert for two concerts on Saturday, April 12 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, April 13 at 2 p.m. Bueckert will conduct the symphony, with some of his student players, in pieces including the Overture to William Tell and the Harry Potter Orchestral Suite.

Tickets for all Symphony of the Kootenays events are available at the Key City Theatre box office or by phoning 250-426-7006.

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