Now that the flurry of the fall season has calmed down, I want to reflect on the incredible experience of watching and listening to our first concert of the year, “Prelude” that took place a month ago today, November 6th, at the Martin Woldson Theater at The Fox.
I have seen many SYS concerts over the years but this one was particularly exciting to me as all four orchestras were in prime form. It was hard to believe the students had only eight rehearsal nights with their conductors before pulling off this stellar performance. For a first-of-the-season concert, it was outstanding. Their fine conductors should take much of the credit for this success.
All of our concerts take place in the Martin Woldson Theater at The Fox, a gorgeous hall that was renovated nearly ten years ago. The Spokane Youth Symphony was one of the first “artistic constituents” to perform after the renovations were completed in 2007 and we have had the opportunity to provide this, the performing venue jewel of the Inland Northwest, as the place where our students get to shine.
Our concerts always begin with the youngest, entry level orchestra, the Spokane Youth Strings directed by Dr. Marshall. They performed arrangements of the Entrance of the Queen of Sheba by G. F. Handel and The Flop-Eared Mule by Andrew Dabczynski. Even as these students were still getting accustomed to the performance venue setting with an attentive audience, we were delighted to the entertainment value produced by Dr. Marshall in both the Dabcqynski and the combined piece with Sinfonietta, Shut Up and Dance, arranged by Michael Story. From holding out long notes in the fiddle tune while he took a moment for “selfie” pictures with a student or encouraging the orchestra members and audience to dance, this was a rousing beginning to the concert.
The Spokane Youth Sinfonietta, conducted by Ms. Heather Montgomery performed just prior to combining with Strings. The pieces performed were the beautiful and harmonically full arrangement of The River is Wide by Robert Sieving and the Prelude and Courante by Henri Eccles, arranged by Merle J. Isaac — an elegant and moving first movement followed by a faster movement reminiscent of courtly Baroque era music.
Next, the Spokane Youth Philharmonic led by Dr. Roberta Bottelli came on the stage and performed three selections, Waltz, from Sleeping Beauty Ballet Suite by P.I. Tchaikovsky,
The Abduction from the Seraglio, Overture by W. A. Mozart (arranged by Merle J. Isaac) and Hungarian Dance, No. 5 by Johannes Brahms. It was a joy to hear the strong and excellent sound this orchestra was able to produce particularly with large violin and bass sections. Dr. Bottelli did a phenomenal job with Philharmonic.
Finally, after intermission, the Spokane Youth Symphony Orchestra performed under the direction of Dr. Philip Baldwin. The pieces on this concert were not well-known but wonderful concert selections; Overture to “Zampa” by Ferdinand Herold (1791-1833) and
The Seasons, 3. Autumn 4. Winter, “Christmastide” by Edward German (1862-1936). The German piece, in particular, was such a full and enjoyable performance which made full use of the strings, woodwinds and brass. The orchestra’s performance was fantastic!
I would like to share here a link to the video recording of the German fourth movement. Enjoy!
Best wishes to you all,
Executive Director, Spokane Youth Symphony
For more information about the Spokane Youth Symphony, visit www.SpokaneYouthSymphony.org