The Symphony of the Kootenays has had a successful season and will top it all off April 12 and 13 with its season finale, A Celebration of Excellence, at the Key City Theatre.
The performances will feature Mount Baker Secondary School’s Concert and Jazz Bands playing alongside the Symphony, as well as Evan Bueckert, Mount Baker’s music director, as guest conductor, beside Symphony conductor Jeff Faragher.
Bueckert said the students are quite excited to be involved in the concert, as well as having the chance to perform with the Symphony musicians.
“They love this repertoire and have been working very hard since September and are keen to share it,” Bueckert said. “They realize what an amazing chance this is to experience concert preparation and performance at a professional level and perhaps get an insight into how it might feel to be a career musician. Plus they get to meet some pretty cool people.”
This season has marked the first for Faragher as conductor of the Symphony.
Faragher is widely known in the Kootenays and beyond for his excellence on the cello, which will be on display in the second half of the concert.
The musician, from Nelson, was the Symphony’s Principal Cellist prior to taking the reigns as conductor.
Bueckert will conduct Elgar’s Cello Concerto, which has a special place in his heart, as his father was a cellist. He said while taking lessons from Symphony of the Kootenays director Ron Edinger, one of his father’s favourite’s was Elgar.
“As a teenager I heard that concerto in the house constantly, or at least the parts my dad liked the best,” Bueckert said. “It is a real treat to find myself conducting it with Jeff. I feel like a kid again.”
Bueckert said he hopes the audience finds the repertoire as enjoyable as he and the musicians have.
“I feel that if the music is fun to play, the audience will find it fun to hear,” he said. “If you watch the students’ faces during the concert you will see the joy for yourself.”
The Symphony suffered a financial crisis in 2012 and this is the first year back since then. One of the key ambitions for the season was to highlight local talent, such as Mount Baker’s Concert and Jazz Bands.
A new feature of the Symphony events this year has been an open dress rehearsal on Saturday afternoons before the concert. The Symphony of the Kootenays is unique in that its musicians are scattered throughout the Kootenays and southwest Alberta. There are three rehearsals within 36 hours of the performance. This one will also have the Mount Baker ensembles added to the mix.
Admission to the final rehearsal from noon to 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 12 is free. It takes place at the Key City Theatre. The organizer noted it’s also a great opportunity for young children to experience the Symphony, as more movement is possible and it’s easier to come and go as you wish.
Then, also on April 12, music educator Lorraine Kneier is offering another free event – a presentation looking at the music to be played that weekend. With a deeper understanding of the music you can better appreciate the concert and learn more about the composers. This workshop is at the Cranbrook Public Library from 3 to 5 p.m. Please register in advance at the library.
Finally, get into a festive mood before the concert by arriving early for the social Prelude event put on by the Symphony. This gathering in the Key City Theatre lobby starts one hour before each concert with local sponsors providing refreshments including gelato, coffee and other treats. It’s a chance to mingle with fellow concert goers and peruse the program for the Symphony’s 2014-15 season.