Saturday, October 23, 2010

Niagara Symphony launches their Pops! season this weekend

Even though we have lots to do around the house this weekend, including raking leaves, yardwork, painting and general cleaning up after a busy week, I know I won't be alone when I say all that will have to work around the launch of the Niagara Symphony's Pops! season Saturday night and Sunday afternoon. Granted, most people do one or the other, but I, of course, do both, as I set up my table in the lobby for CD sales from A Web of Fine Music; if you plan to go to either concert, I hope you'll stop by for a visit and say hello.

Earlier this month, the Niagara Symphony launched their Masterworks series with a well-attended concert of music by Robert Turner, Faure, Tchaikovsky and Brahms, with guest soloist Shauna Rolston. The new Music Director Designate for the Niagara Symphony, Bradley Thachuck, made his debut at the concert and turned in a pretty impressive performance, particularly in the Brahms Symphony No. 2 that closed the program.

Maestro Thachuk is on the podium this weekend as well to launch the Pops! season with a programme titled Symphonic All-Stars. In these tough economic times it is hard to pay for a guest soloist for every concert, especially when you have some great musicians already performing within the ranks of the orchestra. So, Thachuk and Co. wisely chose to forego the extra expense and showcase some of their own musicians who certainly deserve the recognition. So, over the course of the concert, we'll be hearing from Laura Thomas on Anderson's The Typewriter, for example; we'll also hear trombonist Steve Fralick on Hoagy Carmichael's Georgia On My Mind; cellist Gordon Cleland on the Hungarian Rhapsody by David Popper; violinist Xiaoling Li performing the Tango from the movie "Scent of a Woman"; concertmaster Valerie Sylvester performing the theme from John Williams' score to the movie "Schindler's List"; flute players Douglas Miller and Patricia Dydnansky performing the Rondo, Op. 25 for two flutes by Franz Albert Doppler; and the entire trumpet section on Leroy Anderson's popular Bugler's Holiday.

Lots of other orchestral music will fill out the programme, too, including music by Rimsky-Korsakov, Kander's music from "Chicago" and Richard Hayman's popular "Pops Hoe-Down". So all in all, it promises to be a lively concert! Now, none of this is exactly cutting edge, but it's guaranteed to fill the seats for both concerts, which will serve to introduce a lot of people - some of them new visitors, it's hoped - to the new Maestro, Bradley Thachuk. After all, the real challenge now is to fill those seats and broaden the audience base.

The Saturday evening concert begins at 7:30; the Sunday afternoon is at 2:30; both performances are at the Sean O'Sullivan Theatre at the Centre for the Arts, Brock University. I suspect tickets will be easier to come by for the Saturday evening performance, but you can check on either one with the box office at 905-688-5550, ext. 3257, or stop by before the concert. And as mentioned, I will be there in the lobby before, at intermission and after the concert both days with lots of music you'll hopefully take a liking to, so be sure to stop by the table. Of course, you can also check out the latest Mikes Picks on my website,, and email any and all requests you have to

See you at the Symphony this weekend!

October 23rd, 2010.

No comments: