Duo Concertante: Concert Review

by Bob Park, Feb. 27, 2017

For the final concert in its 2016/17 season, the South Okanagan Concert Society presented the wonderful, Newfoundland-based, Duo Concertante. Violinist Nancy Dahn and pianist Timothy Steeves are partners in life and partners in music. Seventeen years ago we had first heard this superb duo here in Oliver, on the old Frank Venables Auditorium stage. In the intervening years Nancy and Tim have performed all over the world and received countless awards and accolades.

And here they were again, in Oliver, but this time we could welcome them to the new Venables Theatre! Of this year’s high quality concert line-up, this was perhaps the performance I was most looking forward to. In our age of electrically and digitally processed music it is refreshing to spend a few hours enfolded by the natural, un-amplified sound of beautiful instruments.

Duo Concertante reminded us what a miracle of sound in skilful hands the grand piano and the violin are! In spite of what one might expect by merely looking at their size, these instruments really were perfectly balanced. The big sound of our modern Yamaha C3 never overpowered the violin. While some brilliant minds in 16th century Italy were designing St. Peter’s Cathedral, creating the sculpture of David and painting the Mona Lisa , others invented a tiny wooden box that can fill a concert hall with sound that speaks straight to the heart—even four centuries later!

The concert opened with a seldom heard Sonata in A Major, by J.S. Bach. Instead of featuring a violin soloist with keyboard accompanist, this sonata had the violin and the keyboard on an equal footing. The counterpoint style has a melody being followed by another and often a third always playing catch-up, and each instrument takes the lead at different times. Although old J.S. Bach and the early music crowd might disagree, I think that this sonata works better with piano than with the original harpsichord, since the different voices can be separated more distinctly.

From the first movement of this sonata on, I knew we were in for a real treat. Nancy’s superb violin playing let us relax and enjoy the music, without her making us aware of how fiendishly difficult this instrument really is. The audience could sit back and let Nancy do the driving. Just one example: Nancy’s way of doing vibrato. Instead of imitating legendary violinists (Heifetz, Kreisler) with a one-speed, super- fast vibrato on all passages, Nancy varies the speed and intensity of her vibrato. On long notes in the Bach sonata she would come into the note softly with no vibration, and gradually build the volume, adding vibrato and then ending the note softly, again without vibrato. Easier said than done, and very effective. Throughout the concert, the violin became her way of expressing emotion, her personal voice.

The Bach was followed by another rarely heard work, Tartiniana Seconda, by Luigi Dallapiccoli (more fun to hear Tim say it than for me to spell it). This short four movement work featured melodies based on Baroque -era dance rhythms combined with some modern harmonies. The original Tartini theme was played with

broad triple stops on the violin. The variations allowed Tim to play some fine solo passages on the piano. This lively piece of music deserves more frequent performances.

Concluding the first half of the evening was the Brahms Sonata No.2 in A, perhaps the best known of the composer’s violin sonatas. The beautiful theme of the first of three movements is, I think, well known to violin fans, being on all those “greatest hits” CD’s! Brahms’ life and music are infused with sorrow, dignity and beauty. The slow second movement was absolutely lovely, played by Nancy with that expressive sense of dynamics that draws you in. The highlight of the night for me. This second movement changed in mood and ended with a lively tempo, tricking many of us into thinking the piece was over. The duo must forgive us for applauding; it seemed appropriate considering the magic of the moment.

The second half of the concert was given over to the Franck Sonata in A major, jokingly referred to by violinists as the “Frank Sinatra”. Not every violinist is up to performing this piece. It requires absolute mastery of all technical aspects of the violin and buckets of emotional energy. Nancy certainly pulled it off. When I focussed on Tim’s excellent piano accompaniment, it struck me that the piano part in this work is just as impossible as the violin part! I can’t think of a better way to end a wonderful evening than with that cascading triumphal melody that concludes the final movement!

After that brilliantly executed and exhausting work, it was surprising that the duo still had the energy to treat us to another technical fireball as encore. They played an arrangement of Kachaturian’s well-known Sabre Dance. Lots of fun!

What’s next for the Concert Society? “Piano Chameleons” (two pianos duel it out); “Cheng2Duo” (young brother and sister on cello and piano); “Cari Burdett and Quintet” (gypsy, folk, opera, jazz tunes, cabaret style); “Joe Trio” (court jesters of the classical). The four concerts of the 2017/18 season are already “live” on the ticket section of the Frank Venables Theatre website , as well as being accessible via the theatre box office, Tuesdays through Thursdays, and at 498-1626. Pick your reserved seats as soon as possible! Save $24 on the series, by purchasing tickets to all four concerts in advance!

Concert season opens with lyric soprano

Submitted by Marion Boyd, SOCS

Last year at this time the South Okanagan Concert Society was reassuring citizens they could look forward to world class concerts despite the massive fire that consumed the local high school and auditorium. Switching to the temporary venue of the Oliver Alliance Church, a concert series was specifically designed to take advantage of the acoustics in a smaller, more intimate setting. It was a huge success.

This year, while construction of the new auditorium is underway, the concert society has again shaped a series to bring delight to a community rising above its grievous loss. Flex pass tickets are on sale now at Beyond Bliss (Oliver) and at Imperial Office Pro (Osoyoos). The four admission pass costs only $60. The four admissions are entirely flexible and can be used together or in any combination. Single admission is $20. Young people 17 and under are welcome to attend the concerts free. All the concerts will begin at the new start time of 7:30 pm.

Here’s what we have in store for you! On Friday, November 2 the stunning soprano, Tracy Fehr (pictured above), will offer a programme to showcase her classically trained lyric voice. Expect operatic arias, German lieder, arrangements of African-American spirituals and musical theatre hits. Dennis Nordlund will provide the piano accompaniment.

Friday, November 30th a complete change of pace will occur when the 2011 Canadian Grand Master Fiddle champion, Daniel Gervais, performs. He has been playing violin since age 5 and moves comfortably from fiddle styles to classical violin. No wonder one of his CDs has the title “Endless Possibilities”.

 

 

Some familiar faces appear for the Friday, February 8th concert, Duo Rendezvous. Jasper Wood, violinist, has enthralled the audience before and when he joins with the charismatic Daniel Bolshoy on classical guitar the outcome will undoubtedly be musical magic. Last year Daniel’s virtuosity and his charming ability to communicate with the audience created a coterie of new local fans.

 

 

 

The series will conclude on Thursday, March 7th , when the Concert Society takes a firm step out onto a limb. This concert is like no other. Woody Holler and his Orchestra are purveyors of western swing. They love to explore the crossover between jazz and western and produce “gypsy jazz from the saddle”. Raised on cowboy songs and later trained in classical voice and opera, Woody’s voice plus violin, guitar and bass create arrangements rich with virtuosity and style.

This is a series guaranteed to chase away any winter blues with music, music, music!

Concert Society “hollers” some good news

It’s yodelling. It’s swing. It’s country. It’s jazz.  It’s a whole lot of fun, is what it is!

The South Okanagan Concert Society is  please to announce what president Jan Marcotte calls “an exciting experiment”. After a little trouble booking their fourth concert  of the 2012 – 12 concert season, the society has hired a terrifc ensemble: Woody  Holler and His Orchestra.

Imagine Django Reinhart (1930s gypsy jazz guitarist) with a cowboy twang. The result is a lively, toe-tapping good time that will make you smile.   Check out a musical sampling at their website here:  www.woodyholler.ca

Fron his website: “Woody Holler grew up hearing the songs of the cowboy. Although he was later trained in opera, a sense of belonging and nostalgia held him close to the early Western genre. Influenced by the crooning styles of Gene Autry and Roy Rogers as well as the rustic blue yodeling of Jimmy Rodgers and danceable swing of Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys, he developed his lyric yodel on the wide-open spaces of the Canadian Prairie.

“Woody Holler’s orchestra consists of Winnipeg’s finest folk/jazz musicians creating a western swing style that Woody defines as “jazz from the saddle”. Richard Moody on violin, Greg Lowe on guitar and Daniel Koulack on double bass add clever arrangements that are rich with virtuosity and style. The repertoire is eclectic, fun and fascinating, featuring finger-snapping swing beats, honey-slowed love croons, and show stopping “extreme” yodeling. Woody Holler was nominated for the 2010 Canadian Folk Music Awards.”

The full conert lineup for the 2012-13 season is

November 2, 2012: Tracy Fehr, lyric soprano
November 30, 2012: Daniel Gervais, Canadian Fiddle Champion
February 8, 2013: Duo Rendezvous, violin & guitar
THURSDAY, March 7, 2013  ~ Woody Holler and His Orchestra
$60 regular 4-flex pass  
$20 single ticket
at Beyond Bliss, Oliver   and  Imperial Office Pro, Osoyoos

Concert Society "hollers" some good news

It’s yodelling. It’s swing. It’s country. It’s jazz.  It’s a whole lot of fun, is what it is!

The South Okanagan Concert Society is  please to announce what president Jan Marcotte calls “an exciting experiment”. After a little trouble booking their fourth concert  of the 2012 – 12 concert season, the society has hired a terrifc ensemble: Woody  Holler and His Orchestra.

Imagine Django Reinhart (1930s gypsy jazz guitarist) with a cowboy twang. The result is a lively, toe-tapping good time that will make you smile.   Check out a musical sampling at their website here:  www.woodyholler.ca

Fron his website: “Woody Holler grew up hearing the songs of the cowboy. Although he was later trained in opera, a sense of belonging and nostalgia held him close to the early Western genre. Influenced by the crooning styles of Gene Autry and Roy Rogers as well as the rustic blue yodeling of Jimmy Rodgers and danceable swing of Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys, he developed his lyric yodel on the wide-open spaces of the Canadian Prairie.

“Woody Holler’s orchestra consists of Winnipeg’s finest folk/jazz musicians creating a western swing style that Woody defines as “jazz from the saddle”. Richard Moody on violin, Greg Lowe on guitar and Daniel Koulack on double bass add clever arrangements that are rich with virtuosity and style. The repertoire is eclectic, fun and fascinating, featuring finger-snapping swing beats, honey-slowed love croons, and show stopping “extreme” yodeling. Woody Holler was nominated for the 2010 Canadian Folk Music Awards.”

The full conert lineup for the 2012-13 season is

November 2, 2012: Tracy Fehr, lyric soprano
November 30, 2012: Daniel Gervais, Canadian Fiddle Champion
February 8, 2013: Duo Rendezvous, violin & guitar
THURSDAY, March 7, 2013  ~ Woody Holler and His Orchestra
$60 regular 4-flex pass  
$20 single ticket
at Beyond Bliss, Oliver   and  Imperial Office Pro, Osoyoos

Penderecki Strings Captivate

by Stuart Culver

From first to last note, the Penderecki String Quartet held the audience in their spell in the last concert of the year, Feb 24, for the South Okanagan Concert Society. Opening with Beethoven’s String Quartet in G major, they performed the sprightly dance-like introduction with a delicate formality, in keeping with its nickname, ‘The Compliments Quartet’, portraying the exaggerated courtesy of an 18th century drawing salon. The second movement features a languorous melody leading to bursts of song, cut by expectant silences. The galloping rhythms of the Scherzo moved to a faster tempo in the final movement where each instrument in turn picked up the melody, ending with the fierce energy we associate with Beethoven.

The second composition, De Profundis, by young Canadian composer Norbert Palej, was commissioned and premiered by PSQ. Jerzy Kaplanek, 2nd violin, spoke of the composer’s impetus, drawing inspiration from Psalm 130 and Oscar Wilde’s ‘De Profundis” written in Reading Gaol. Violent percussive and staccato effects built on dissonances and the sheer physicality of the violinists drew enthusiastic applause from the Oliver audience; the musicians told us that not all audiences are as accepting of innovative styles. The piece started on a shattering unison note and ended on a single dying note, after high bird-like trills, reinforcing the notion of rising from the depths of despair. Perhaps appropriate as Oliver prepares to welcome a prison.

Debussy’s String Quartet, his only one, offered a contrast to the first half. The violinists switched positions and 2nd Jeremy Bell told about the influence of the Javanese gamelon which Debussy heard at the 1889 Paris Exposition. A simple melody recurred in different ways: the dream-like quality quickly moved from soft to strident, with ever changing rhythms and harmonies. The soft, sad and slow intro of the cello in the final movement built to a crescendo of excitement and ended with a whisper.

But the audience wanted more and the musicians obliged with an unbelievably fast little piece, with bow percussion by Erwin Schulhoff, a Czech composer. Truly, the Penderecki musicians demonstrate “a remarkable range of technical excellence and emotional sweep” Globe & Mail).

Another successful year has ended for the South Okanagan Concert Society. The 2012-13 season is planned, with the AGM on April 10 at Quail’s Nest Arts Centre. Early-bird discount tickets (bargain prices, free for students) are available now at Imperial Office Pro in Osoyoos and Beyond Bliss in Oliver.

Trio wows Oliver audience

by Sue Morhun

Three women in perfect and effortless harmony, all with glorious voices, all capable of covering a diverse repertoire and all equally capable of sharing undeniable musical abilities in a way that keeps an entire audience in their thrall. That was the gift the extraordinarily talented a cappella group, The Kallisto Trio, gave South Okanagan Concert Society goers last week. It was evening not have been missed!

From the first intriguing moment at the start when the light tinkle of a temple bell filled a darkened candlelight room until the last notes of “Auld Lang Syne” faded away at the end, the audience was in awe. It was a very special evening. Not surprisingly, words fail to do justice. It was all about hearing and an evening filled with glorious sounds. The artistry, the presentation, the music choices, the Trio’s own obvious enjoyment with the music and each other filled the room. It often left us in awe. Many times as the last clear notes of a piece faded away, the audience was utterly silent before the room filled with audible sighs and then enthusiastic applause. Comments like “amazing and joyous voices”, “they were born to sing”,“what a treat!” “they sparkle, ” filled the room at the Oliver Alliance Church both at intermission and when the evening closed. No one wanted it to end.

Lead soprano Catherine Laub, soprano Karen Mang and mezzo soprano Fabiano Katz all bring extensive and formal training to their craft. They are writers, composers, conductors, teachers and soloists as well. What is not so easily acquired, however, is the passion, good humour, friendship and musical curiosity that underlines what they do so well. Their varied program demonstrated those rarer qualities, ones that result in true audience engagement. It was also inspirational.

One could go on forever about their technical capabilities, perfect balance and blend, excellent diction, controlled phrasing and more. I will focus rather on their ability to have the audience go beyond just hearing a well presented note but going one step further enabling us to “feel” that note and the story behind it. We heard the ice crack in “Frobisher Bay”. We shared the emotion underscoring “Love Is Not All”. We struggled to stay in our seats with the rollicking French Canadian “Reel a Bouche”. I’d be remiss if I also didn’t note the extra dimension provided by their instrumentation. It brought more delicious sounds into their vocal mix – singing bowls, temple bells, a child’s xylophone, a celtic drum, recorders, clarinet, guitar and, best of all, the kazoo. As kazoo players they are unparalleled! Equally interesting is that fully one half of their program featured Canadian content including premiering two touching pieces by Vancouver born cellist Stefan Hintersteininger.

One particular piece continues to resonate with this reviewer. Titled “Remember” with words by late Victoria poet Christina Rosetti and lyrics by Canadian Stephen Chatman, the song entreated the listener to “remember me”. Ladies of the Kallisto Trio, be assured we certainly will remember you. Thank you for truly lovely evening.

Kallisto Trio harmonizes November 25

 The South Okanagan Concert Society brings the Kallisto trio to Oliver on Friday November 25th. Their tagline “Classical Mastery with Pop Personality and Latin Spice” describes their technique and repertoire to a T.

Three beautiful women have joined their voices and spirits to create Kallisto – an incomparable a cappella trio experience for listeners everywhere. Meshing the quirky approach of Bobby McFerrin with the stylish jazz harmonies of Manhattan Transfer into classical, Canadiana, folk and even rock ‘n roll, gives them a warm and inviting sound … with an edge. Described by audiences as ‘remarkable’ and ‘angelic, Kallisto draws inspiration from every ear of music history. The trio brings music from the Renaissance, Baroque and Romantic periods to life and then shifts effortlessly to jazz standards, pop hits, world music and gospel. This concert will also include some seasonal selections.

Fabiana Katz, Karen Mang and Catherine Laub, all highly regarded professional and musicians in their own right, are making waves with their artistry. They combine their knowledge, talent and skills to give their performances a depth and breadth witnessed in few ensembles. On stage their personalities play off one another perfectly – captivating and entertaining – while their flawlessly-tuned voices seem to effortlessly blend into one.

The trio spice up their performances with a variety of instruments, which they play with equal flair – guitar, accordion, electric bass, clarinet, recorders, djembe, claves, drums, shakers, tambourines, and a host of other percussion instruments.

The threesome also shares a common passion for creativity and showmanship. Kallisto’s shows raise the bar: every nuance of language, vocal colour and style seamlessly in place, every change in character brilliantly conveyed.

Give them a listen by clicking on their sample video at http://www.kallistotrio.com/ you’ll hear some jazz, Latin, pop, and Afro-American spiritual rhythms.

South Okanagan Concert Society presents
Kallisto Trio
Friday, November 25, 2011
7:30 p.m.
Oliver Alliance Church
Tickets:  $20 single performance
$60 four-way flex pass (savings of $5 per ticket!)
FREE for 17 yrs. and under

Already planning to be there? Bring your favourite young person (under 17) along! Expose them to some great music! You’ll be cultivating the next generation of concert goers — and it’s FREE!

Tickets available at Beyond Bliss, Oliver, Imperial Office Pro, Osoyoos, and at the door.

Kallisto – Voices to make you float on air

by Marion Boyd, South Okanagan Concert Society

Three beautiful women have joined their voices and spirits to create Kallisto – an incomparable a cappella trio experience on stage Friday, November 25th in Oliver.

Presented by the South Okanagan Concert Society, the performance will be at the new time of 7:30 pm. As a result of the fire which destroyed the Venables Auditorium, the temporary venue for this concert season is the Oliver Alliance Church, 36853 99th Street, just off Highway 97 at the northern ‘Welcome to Oliver’ sign.

Kallisto draws inspiration and brings music to life from the Renaissance, Baroque and Romantic periods and then shifts effortlessly to jazz standards, pop hits, world music and gospel. The varied programme November 25th will include a few musical Christmas treats as well.

Fabiana Katz, Karen Mang and Catherine Laub let their personalities play off each other on stage. They captivate audiences with their flawlessly tuned voices and their passion for creativity and showmanship. Their trio, named after a lovely girl in a Greek myth, leaves room to explore through words and music a world of gods and goddesses, love and pathos, all served with a dollup of humour.

Argentian-Canadian mezzo-soprano, Fabiana, has a Masters degree in Choral Conducting and sings with the Vancouver Chamber Choir. Her expertise is in Baroque music as well as Spanish and Latin American music. Catherine, the lead soprano, has a Masters degree in Voice Performance and was on stage in New York before moving to Vancouver in 2006. She sings with the Vancouver Chamber Choir and is a published composer, author, voice teacher and yoga teacher. Karen Mang delights in theatre, entertaining and excellent musicianship. A soprano, she is the assistant conductor of the Vancouver Children’s Choir and is active as a soloist in the Vancouver area.

Tickets are on sale at Beyond Bliss Esthetics in Oliver, Imperial Office Pro in Osoyoos and at the door. The best buy is a flexible pass for four admissions for only $60. The admissions can be used separately or in combination. Single admission is $20 and young people age 17 and under are welcome to attend concerts free.

If you are feeling tired by the time Friday rolls around and wondering if you can gather the energy to appear at the concert, think of our SOCS President, Janet Marcotte. She often feels exhausted at the end of a demanding week of teaching. She also notes that by the end of a concert of fine music, she is rejuvenated and floating on air. Try it. It just might work for you too!!

Look! It’s an orchestra! It’s an organ! No! It’s … accordion!

by Val Friesen

Concerts just don’t get better than this. The South Okanagan Concert Society chose a world class accordionist, Alexander Sevastian, to open their four-concert season on Friday evening, October 28th.

From the moment he began Bach’s magnificent Toccata and Fugue in D-minor, filling the Alliance Church with organ resonance, consummate musician Sevastian held the full-house audience in rapt attention. His technical mastery of the bayan, the chromatic button accordion, allowed him to produce music now of sublime subtlety or now flooding the hall in magnificent splendour. Johann Sebastian would himself have marvelled at the colours Sevastian’s fleet fingers pulled from his instrument. Astonishing!

The three Scarlatti sonatas which followed, opened a window onto a crisp Italian morning as fresh it must have been three centuries ago, then transported us out into a glorious day, our hearts filled with the simple joys of being alive. Sevastian’s radiant playing of this delicate, transcendental music was a remarkable gift to his spellbound listeners.

The beautifully balanced program then took us into the unexplored territory of music from Sevastian’s Russian homeland, music composed for the accordion. The six movements of Vladislav Zolotaryov’s Chamber Suite evoked the coming of evening, then moonlight, a snowfall at night that you could feel as well as see, mysterious visions that tingled your spine and then the dark colours of gloomy sorrow, and closing with a romping Old Fairy Tale. A gallery of emotions, musical paintings, superbly played.

The first half of the program concluded with another Zolotaryov piece, the final movement of his Sonata No. 3—seemingly a musical setting of your worst pursuit nightmare, you frantically running to escape the relentless and terrifying phantoms at your heels. Amazing music magnificently played.

The second half of the program opened with another contemporary Russian piece, Semenov’s Don Rhapsody. Here, while drifting down the Don, the Russian countryside is brought to life much as Smetana did in The Moldau using evocative folk music to paint the scene. Beautiful shifting rhythms and moods.

The evening held much more of this enrapturing music that flowed through the medium of this sensitive artist. He inhabited the very soul of Tchaikovsky, transforming the written notes of October into the nostalgia of a summer love lost, lost. Sevastian swept us into a ballroom, swaying to the rhythms of von Weber’s Invitation to the Dance. He carried us to the haunting loneliness of the Russian Steppes and sent us to witness the swirling colours of Cossack dancing.

Who would have thought that accordion music could ever cast such a spell? Well, it did, and we have the Concert Society and its generous sponsors to thank for bringing such an outstanding event to our community. There are three more series concerts to come, and tickets are still available. Get one if you haven’t already. Your soul deserves it.

Tickets: $20 single ticket, $60 four-way flex pass (saves $5 per seat!), 17 yrs and under FREE. Available at Beyond Bliss (Oliver), Imperial Office Pro (Osoyoos), and at the door.

Upcoming Concert: Kallisto Trio, a cappella,  Friday November 25th

Look! It's an orchestra! It's an organ! No! It's … accordion!

by Val Friesen

Concerts just don’t get better than this. The South Okanagan Concert Society chose a world class accordionist, Alexander Sevastian, to open their four-concert season on Friday evening, October 28th.

From the moment he began Bach’s magnificent Toccata and Fugue in D-minor, filling the Alliance Church with organ resonance, consummate musician Sevastian held the full-house audience in rapt attention. His technical mastery of the bayan, the chromatic button accordion, allowed him to produce music now of sublime subtlety or now flooding the hall in magnificent splendour. Johann Sebastian would himself have marvelled at the colours Sevastian’s fleet fingers pulled from his instrument. Astonishing!

The three Scarlatti sonatas which followed, opened a window onto a crisp Italian morning as fresh it must have been three centuries ago, then transported us out into a glorious day, our hearts filled with the simple joys of being alive. Sevastian’s radiant playing of this delicate, transcendental music was a remarkable gift to his spellbound listeners.

The beautifully balanced program then took us into the unexplored territory of music from Sevastian’s Russian homeland, music composed for the accordion. The six movements of Vladislav Zolotaryov’s Chamber Suite evoked the coming of evening, then moonlight, a snowfall at night that you could feel as well as see, mysterious visions that tingled your spine and then the dark colours of gloomy sorrow, and closing with a romping Old Fairy Tale. A gallery of emotions, musical paintings, superbly played.

The first half of the program concluded with another Zolotaryov piece, the final movement of his Sonata No. 3—seemingly a musical setting of your worst pursuit nightmare, you frantically running to escape the relentless and terrifying phantoms at your heels. Amazing music magnificently played.

The second half of the program opened with another contemporary Russian piece, Semenov’s Don Rhapsody. Here, while drifting down the Don, the Russian countryside is brought to life much as Smetana did in The Moldau using evocative folk music to paint the scene. Beautiful shifting rhythms and moods.

The evening held much more of this enrapturing music that flowed through the medium of this sensitive artist. He inhabited the very soul of Tchaikovsky, transforming the written notes of October into the nostalgia of a summer love lost, lost. Sevastian swept us into a ballroom, swaying to the rhythms of von Weber’s Invitation to the Dance. He carried us to the haunting loneliness of the Russian Steppes and sent us to witness the swirling colours of Cossack dancing.

Who would have thought that accordion music could ever cast such a spell? Well, it did, and we have the Concert Society and its generous sponsors to thank for bringing such an outstanding event to our community. There are three more series concerts to come, and tickets are still available. Get one if you haven’t already. Your soul deserves it.

Tickets: $20 single ticket, $60 four-way flex pass (saves $5 per seat!), 17 yrs and under FREE. Available at Beyond Bliss (Oliver), Imperial Office Pro (Osoyoos), and at the door.

Upcoming Concert: Kallisto Trio, a cappella,  Friday November 25th

Never in My Wildest Dreams

by Marion Boyd, South Okanagan Concert Society

Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine myself writing the following words, but here they are! I just heard an exquisite performance of Mendelssohn’s Scherzo played by Alexander Sevastian on the accordion. Yes. You read it right. The accordion. And yes. I said exquisite.

Sevastian, born in Minsk, Belarus, and a Canadian citizen since 2005 is a three time first prize winner of the world International Accordion Competition. He has the dexterity worthy of a concert pianist and a Masters degree (performance) from Moscow. Over the past five years he has toured Italy, Japan, Korea, Sweden, Estonia and Guatemala. Now he will perform on Friday, October 28th in Oliver under the auspices of the South Okanagan Concert Society.

Many of you are aware the Oliver school and auditorium burned down recently. Sevastian will perform at the new time of 7:30 pm at this season’s temporary venue, the Oliver Alliance Church , 36853 99th Street which is just off Highway 97 at the northern ‘Welcome to Oliver’ sign.

Tickets are on sale at Beyond Bliss Esthetics in Oliver, Imperial Office Pro in Osoyoos and at the door. The best buy is a flexible pass for four admissions for only $60. The admissions can be used separately or in combination. Single admission is $20 and young people age 17 and under are welcome to attend concerts free.

If you are one of those who can’t associate “exquisite” with “accordion” I invite you to visit www.stationbleue.com/artistes.e/sevastian_al.php and see how Sevastian can create a whole orchestra in one instrument. Whether it is Rossini’s La Danza or Mozart’s Organ Fantasia, Sevastian is able to delight with his music as well as his stage presence. His program exhibits a broad versatility some of it perhaps inspired by Quartetto Gelato. He has been touring internationally with this group since 2002. They also were on stage in Oliver in the past. If you missed them and want to explore their style, check out www.quartettogelato.ca.

Sevastian has performed concerts in 30 Russian cities as well as concerts in Belarus, the Ukraine and other parts of Europe. His Kossak Variations by Victor Gridin will bring anyone with a drop of Russian blood to their feet in a standing ovation.

Don’t be shy. Try something unusual in the world of music and discover the appeal of a champion accordionist

Concert Season ready? Yes Yes Yes!

submitted by Marion Boyd, South Okanagan Concert Society

When the recent massive fire consumed the Oliver Venables Auditorium, citizens felt bereft. So much was destroyed and many wondered if the South Okanagan Concert Society would be able to bring world class concerts to the community this year. The answer to that question is YES! YES! YES!

The Concert Society knew that the renovations started at the auditorium before the fire would not be completed for this season. There was time to plan and to arrange for a temporary new venue at the Oliver Alliance Church. A concert series was designed specifically to take advantage of the acoustics in a smaller, more intimate setting . As the series took shape we knew we had a winner to bring delight to a community suffering a grievous loss.

Flex pass tickets are on sale now at Beyond Bliss in Oliver and at Imperial Office Pro in Osoyoos. A four admission pass costs only $60. The four admissions are entirely flexible and can be used together or in combination. Single admission is $20. Young people 17 and under are welcome to attend the concerts free. All the concerts will begin at the new start time of 7:30 pm.

So this is what we have in store for you! On Friday, October 28th, Alexander Sevastian, who hails from Belarus and became a Canadian citizen in 2005, will make you believe his accordion is a whole orchestra in one instrument. His dexterity is worthy of a concert pianist. It is hardly a surprise that he has captured first prize three times at the International Accordion Competition.

On Friday, November 25, 2011, the Kallisto Trio of Fabiana Katz, Catherine Laub and Karen Mang will perform a cappella with flawlessly tuned voices blending into one. They are known for classical mastery, Pop personality and Latin spice. Kallisto draws inspiration from every era of music history. The trio brings music from the Renaissance, Baroque and Romantic periods to life and then shifts effortlessly to jazz standards, pop hits, world music and gospel.

Solo guitarist, Daniel Bolshoy, will be on stage Friday, January 27, 2012. He has been a mega hit with his charismatic stage presence, a charming ability to communicate with the audience, and the ability to coax utter magic from his guitar.

The critics say this young man “immerses himself in his music, physically projecting the depth of its emotion while his virtuosity flows as if it were an instinctive force.”

He has recently been appointed to head the guitar department at the newly created Vancouver Symphony School of Music.

The series will conclude on Friday, February 24, 2012 with a performance by the Penderecki String Quartet. In the second decade of an extrordinary career, this celebrated chamber ensemble’s performing schedule takes them annually to the great concert stages of North and South America, Europe and the Far East. Making up this prestigious quartet are Jeremy Bell, violin, Jerzy Kaplanek, violin, Christine Vlajk, viola and Paul Pulford, cello.

This is a series with the transformational power to turn the grief of a community into joy through music.

Phoenix from the Ashes: The Steinway is safe

submitted by Marion Boyd
South Okanagan Concert Society

 

Music, “an outburst of the soul”, cannot be quelled in Oliver. Our lovely auditorium smoulders in ruins but the “Old Lady” is safe and sound. Our somewhat elderly Steinway has been a center piece for dazzling world class pianists over the decades. Angela Hewitt, Jon Kamura Parker, Anton Kuerti and, most recently, Sara Beuchner are just a few who have thrilled us with their mastery of the keyboard. Condolences from many musicians who have played here are rolling in as they get word of the fire. They take heart in the story of the Steinway.

The story goes this way. Knowing the renovations at the Venables Auditorium could not be completed in time for this season’s concert series, the South Okanagan Concert Society made temporary plans to relocate to another venue, the Oliver Alliance Church. But what to do about the Steinway was the question.

A small ‘new piano fund’ had been growing slowly over the years. When it became apparent the Steinway would have to be moved, at the very least, to another part of the school, stored in a secure site with consistent humidity and temperature, tuned a number of times and insured against damage or loss for an extended period while the auditorium was being made ready, the executive decided to seize the moment. This was the time for a new piano.

So a partnership was formed with the Adopt-a-Seat Committee and School District 53. By joining forces and using the expertise of Bob Park an arrangement was made to trade in the old Steinway and buy a gently used Yamaha C3 grand piano.

A beautiful concert instrument , the Yamaha could be delivered upon completion of the auditorium and the storage cost savings were directed against the replacement cost. S.O.A.P. and the Town of Oliver were all in agreement and the plan took place.

So where are we now? The old Steinway is safe in her new home and escaped the ravages of the fire. The new concert piano is on hold and ready to be delivered when a new auditorium is rebuilt. AND we have a series of concerts designed specifically to take advantage of the smaller, more intimate Alliance Church venue to delight us over the winter.

Music is alive in Oliver. You can get flex or single tickets at Beyond Bliss. Imperial Office Pro or at the door and be comfortably seated on Friday, October 28th at the new time of 7:30 pm. Alexander Sevastian, originally from Minsk, Belarus and now a Canadian citizen, will magically turn his accordian into a whole orchestra as he showcases amazing dexterity and musicality. Get your tickets quickly. Citizens of Russian descent in Grand Forks went wild for his Kossak Variations and are expected to gobble up tickets here too. Let’s make this the winter Oliver turns grief into joy through music.

Think you know accordion? Think again.

Think you know accordion? Probably not like this! Think a whole orchestra in one instrument and dexterity worthy of a concert pianist.

The South Okanagan Concert Society presents
Alexander Sevastian, solo accordionist
Friday, Oct 28, 2011
Oliver Alliance Church
Tickets : $60 regular flex pass, $20 single ticket
Available at Beyond Bliss (Oliver)
and Inperial Office Pro (Osoyoos) 

This concert will blow you away — guaranteed!

Alexander Sevastian has won four International Accordion Competitions including the Oslofjord in Norway (1998), The Cup of the North in Russia (2000), the Anthony Galla-Rini Accordion Competition in the U.S.A. (2001) and The Coupe Mondiale in the U.S.A. (2007).

Alex was born in Minsk, Belarus and began his studies on the accordion at the age of seven. In 1991 he attended the Glinka Musical College in Minsk. His advanced studies took him to the Gnessin Academy of Music in Moscow where he received his Masters in Performance degree in 2002, studying with renowned performer and pedagogue, Friedrich Lips.

Alex began his professional career in Moscow in 1996, performing with the Russian Radio Orchestra, which he toured with as a soloist throughout Russia, Ukraine, Germany, Italy, and Japan. Alex also was a very active recitalist and chamber musician. Highlights of his career include appearances in the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall, Glinka Capella Hall (St.Petersburg), Suntory Hall (Tokyo), Roy Thomson Hall (Toronto), and the Metropolitan Museum (New York). Recent solo engagements include recitals in Mexico, Italy, Portugal, Serbia, U.S.A. and Canada as well as appearances with several symphony orchestras.

Alex and his family moved to Canada in April 2001. He joined the renowned Quartetto Gelato in 2002. In May 2003 he completed his advanced performance studies at the University of Toronto. In the fall of 2005 he became a Canadian Citizen. Alex made his debut with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra in April 2008.

Turn up your speakers and listen to some of his virtuosic playing at http://www.quartettogelato.ca/alex.php  and the amazingly fast Minka Variations at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P5JE6s9FeGc . Then pick your jaw up from the floor and go out and buy your tickets!

What’s up later in the South Okanagan Concert Society season?

Fri. Nov 25: Kallisto Trio, a capella female trio
Fri. Jan 27: Daniel Bolshoy, solo guitarist
Fri. Feb 24 : Penderecki String Quartet

Series financially supported in part by the Oliver Community Arts Council