SSaturday’s waterfront concert by the White Rock City Orchestra was a great end to the season for the ensemble and a harbinger of better days for live music of all kinds in the city.
After days of clouds and rain, the sun came out just in time for the free lunchtime concert, co-presented at Memorial Park by the City of White Rock and the White Rock Museum and Archives. , and boosted attendance for the event, the orchestra’s first in-person concert in more than two years.
And he gave a vivid account of what MC Bevin van Liempt described as “a little taste” of the orchestra’s repertoire, which mixes professionals and volunteer amateurs, and now numbers around 30 members after a low of 15 in the COVID era.
The mix of classical and light classical standards, along with a few film scores, seemed to hit the right note with an appreciative seated audience, but also passers-by on the promenade, who stopped, listened and lingered.
“There were 150 chairs laid out in the plaza and they were all full,” noted WRCO maestra Paula DeWit.
“But there were a lot of other people around and listening – I would say there were around 250 people in total who listened to the concert.
“It was great with so many people – the atmosphere was magical.”
Guest soloist Luna Li, who joined the orchestra in the spring movement influenced by Vivaldi’s bird trills, contributed to this magic. Four Seasons concerto.
Very mature and self-possessed for her eight years, little Li – a pupil of concert master Monika Niedzielko – acquitted herself admirably in the piece.
“And she watched me (driving) all the way through,” DeWit said. “I was very impressed.”
The orchestra, which had to cancel its Christmas 2020 performance of Handel Messiah due to COVID restrictions, and has been making videos since, marked his reappearance on the live stage with bravery Entry of the Gladiators by the Czech composer Fucik, by Schubert Military March, and the famous Emperor’s Waltz by Johann Strauss II.
Two South American tangos – El Choclo and The Comparsita (featured in a previous city-funded WRCO video) were joined by Luigi Denza’s rhapsodic version of his famous tarantella Funiculi-Funicula.
The program was completed by a suitably atmospheric and idiomatic interpretation of a suite of themes by Klaus Bedelt Pirates of the Caribbean score.
WRCO rehearsals will resume in the fall, preparing for the December 3 Christmas concert at White Rock Baptist Church with up-and-coming ‘popera’ trio The Volare Tenors – recently highlighted on Canada has talent.
“They recently got a grant for someone to organize grading for them to perform with an orchestra, so I expect we’ll give some of them a first try,” DeWit said.
She reaffirmed that the orchestra is always on the lookout for new members of the community – provided they have at least Grade 6 Toronto Conservatory proficiency in their instrument (for more information see the website at wrco.ca – the website also has information on how to donate to the orchestra.)
DeWit said she was particularly encouraged by the reception the orchestra received on Saturday.
“I feel like White Rock really supports their orchestra, both financially and with those in attendance,” she added.
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City of White RockClassical musicLive music