This weekend the Symphony of the Kootenays will be holding its final concert of the season
On Saturday, April 11, the concert will feature a number of pieces to entice your musical imagination. The first is Giaochino Rossini’s Barber of Seville Overture. Bugs Bunny fans will instantly recognize that piece, as it was featured in one episode of the cartoon.
That will be followed by Robert Schumann’s Piano Concerto in A minor, performed by featured soloist Susan Gould on piano. Gould is a talented pianist out of Golden, who guides heli-skiing tours in the winter.
The concert will finish with Ludwig Van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7.
Ian Adams, President of the Symphony of the Kootenays, said this season has been a wonderful success.
“The audiences that we’ve had have increased over the year,” Adams said. “The average capacity has been over 80 per cent over the course of the year, which is very good for the Symphony. To bring that number of people into the theatre is really positive for us.”
Adams said they have had great feedback from audience members, as well as great feedback from the musicians.
“We’re very pleased with the way things have gone,” he said.
Adams said the majority of the current Symphony of the Kootenays board has been in place for about three years.
“One of the things we did at the outset was take a step back and asked Symphony members and audience folks what music do you want to listen to?” he said. “Like any business you have to give customers what they want.”
He said if they weren’t offering the music people water to listen to, obviously there was less incentive to attend the concerts.
“That’s ten one aspect that we’ve tried to do. I’m not sure necessarily that previous boards ignored what people wanted to listen to, but that has certainly been a guiding principal for us in finding audience friendly programs and music that is familiar to people.”
He acknowledged that a lot of classical music out there is not familiar and some of it can be challenging to listen to. He said that while they haven’t gone to easy-listening, they have took on some more well-known and popular pieces.
The Christmas concert featured Keri-Lynn Zwicker and had a Celtic influence to it, with the symphony backing up Zwicker’s harp.
“That went over very well,” he said. “That was a big success.”
Then there was the cinema inspired A Night at the Movies, which featured pieces from Star Wars, Harry Potter and Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
He said audiences love the big sound of a large ensemble symphony, but it’s a bit of a catch-22.
“Our first concert we had the largest Symphony of the Kootenays ever on stage, I think it was 49 people including Jeff Faragher, the conductor,” he said. “The downside of that is it’s expensive. We’re paying for more musicians, we’re paying for their travel, some increases accommodation cost. We want to have that fuller sound, I think that’s what people are interested in, and it brings in more people, but costs go up.”
Adams said they will try to balance those two ideals in the future — large symphonies and costs.
The Symphony of the Kootenays is also already gearing up for the next season, with the first concert in Cranbrook to be Sunday, Oct. 18.
They open on Oct. 17 in Nelson.
The 2015/16 season will also mark the 40th anniversary of the Symphony of the Kootenays. The Symphony began in 1975.
That first concert will feature Nelson-raised violinist Natasha Hall. She played as a student a number of years ago with the Symphony and currently resides in England where she performs with symphonies.
Tickets for this Saturday’s performance are available at the Key City Theatre box office, online at www.keycitytheatre.com or by phone 250-426-7006.
They are $29.50 general, and $21 for youth under 16.
The concert starts at 7:30 p.m.
There is also a free open rehearsal from 12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Saturday prior to the concert.