The Key City Theatre saw a packed house on Saturday night for the Christmas concert of the Symphony of the Kootenays. The main feature was selections from the familiar and much–loved Nutcracker ballet by Peter Tchaikovsky. The rest of the concert was taken up with other light holiday favourites.
The concert started with the Carol of the Bells by the Ukrainian composer Mykola Leontovich in a sparkling arrangement, interspersed with hints of other carols. A gorgeous arrangement of O Holy Night followed, and then a suite of music from the film, “The Polar Express.” The orchestra was in top form, and the musicians obviously enjoyed playing this delightful seasonal music.
Dancers from the Stages School of Dance joined the Symphony for “The Magic of the Nutcracker.” In an infectious performance, these charming young dancers danced this story with humour and enthusiasm. This concert was originally planned for 2020, when all public performances were suddenly cancelled. Maestro Jeff Faragher expressed his delight that the plans finally come to life with this concert.
Seven movements from Act 1 of The Nutcracker closed the first half of the concert. Like the musicians, these young dancers were thrilled to face a full house, elated with the energy of a full house. The second half included eight movements from Act 2.
For me, the delight in all of this was to hear several movements which are not normally included in a suite of music from The Nutcracker. The musicians clearly enjoyed playing this music, for they did so with verve and enthusiasm. The young dancers were a highlight of the concert, which ended with a Christmas Medley of familiar carols arranged by Arthur Harris. Audience members could be heard singing along with the carols, arranged in this beautiful medley.
As Faragher mentioned, the Symphony loves to present this concert early to help kick off the holiday season. Certainly, the enthusiastic reception of the audience testified to how enjoyable this concert was. It left us tapping our toes and humming our favourites as we left the theatre.