The Symphony of the Kooenay‘s “A Team,” in concert in a 2019 photo by Lyle Grisedale.

The Symphony of the Kooenay‘s “A Team,” in concert in a 2019 photo by Lyle Grisedale.

The Symphony shines … even when we can’t be together

Yme Woensdregt

Normally, I’d be writing a review of a concert presented by our beloved Symphony of the Kootenays. Alas, we’ve been unable to gather for concerts, just as we haven’t been able to do a lot of things together. But I want to tell you about an exciting and innovative project the Symphony has got going. It’s not quite the same as a concert, but it’s a wonderful reminder of the treasure which is in our midst.

For an hour every second Saturday, conductor Jeff Faragher hosts a program called “The Green Room” on the Symphony YouTube channel. Faragher talks with some of the musicians from the Symphony, most of whom travel some distance to share their joy in making beautiful music with us.

Cranbrook is the smallest city in North America (I believe) to host its own orchestra. We can be justifiably proud of that fact. But we’ve not been able to gather for a concert for over a year now, and some of us are missing it terribly. “The Green Room”, however, helps us continue making a connection with our Symphony. It comes a reasonably close second to actually attending a concert.

So far, there have been three episodes, in which the musicians talk about their own struggles during the pandemic and what they’re doing to overcome those difficulties. They also play some pieces which they have pre–recorded.

In the first program, we spent an hour with concertmaster Cvetozar Vutev, who lives in Kamloops. The second program, entitled “Being a Musician in Cranbrook,” featured three local musicians—violinist Penny Long, and music teachers Stephanie Tichauer and Evan Bueckert. Last Saturday featured the cello section (or the A-Team as they like to call themselves) from Calgary, followed by a Zoom conversation in which we could ask questions and talk together about our love for the Symphony, and how we miss attending the concerts during this difficult time.

Seven more episodes of “The Green Room” are planned from April 10 until mid–June, at 7:30 pm on Saturday evening—which, as everyone knows, is concert time. Check their website ( and click on the Green Room tab for more information. You can also find past programs on the same YouTube channel.

I recommend it highly. It’s a delightful and soul–filling hour in which we get to participate with our orchestral musicians as we share our disappointments as well as our hopes and dreams for a future where we can once more be together.

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