The Epistle of Q — Chapter 182 (Part A)

Reflections on LentMusic heard and missed!

It’s been awhile and because there is quite a bit to catch up on, I will try to brief with each segment of this Chapter

During Lent there often is not a great deal of music to be heard until near Palm Sunday. I was fortunate this year. There was an excellent Jazz Vespers in February that had as its theme A Touch of Paris. It was lively and the message was from Ezekiel which was different. Good afternoon all way round.

Then I went on my trip and while in Portland I discovered that the Portland Youth Symphony Orchestra was playing. Since I have a great deal of respect for what our OSO Music Director & Conductor has been doing with the OSO Youth Orchestra, I thought it would be worth a visit. The concert hall in Portland is quite reminiscent of the Orpheum in Vancouver – an old style vaudeville-type facility with excellent sound reproduction and good sight lines. More importantly though, the Orchestra was brilliant. It was a great evening of entertainment by some exceedingly talented up & coming young people. They played with enthusiasm, precision and a tightness that some old musical ensembles don’t hall.

I returned to the Okanagan in time for a Live From the Met production of Lohengrin. While I always am impressed by Piotr Beczaia’s singing, I wasn’t just sure about attending a five hour performance (even in a theatre where we could smuggle in some real food for lunch). But Wagner is worth going to see/hear and this production was worth every minute. Some parts are dragged out a bit long but the singing and acting made you quickly forget the time. There were a couple of intermissions, so the lunch was important. The performance though was stellar. A great cast and the orchestra was so well led by Yannick Nézet-Séguin all coming together to make it a wonderful five hours of incredible Wagner. I would go again!!

The next day there was another Jazz Vespers – this one attempting to spring us forward into spring. It did the trick. Even the jazz rendition of the hymn As Comes the Breath of Spring was energizing.

Finally on Saturday night, the Okanagan Symphony staged a Rock Odyssey – the Gary Cable Project. The combination of the symphony and a group of aging rockers came over fairly well. The hall was sold out with all ages in attendance. Having a back-up group of singers, The Spectrum Singers, was a positive touch as they often overcame the less than scintillating voices of the somewhat over-the-hill rockers. Musicianship, however, was excellent and Rosemary made sure that the Orchestra complimented every single song in an appropriate fashion. As a result Procol Harum’s Conquistador & A Whiter Shade of Pale, Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, Billy Joels Scenes from an Italian Restaurant, Wings’ Live & Let Die and Supertramp’s Fool’s Overture were great to behold. I did feel they didn’t do justice to the Moody Blue’s Nights in White Satin (although we did learn the inspiration of that great hit) nor of Chicago’s (I’ve been) Searching So Long. The other presentations were great, primarily because of the orchestral backdrops and the singing of the Chorus. But it was still a worthwhile evening…

Due to the local Junior A hockey team starting its annual playoff run, I had to miss the South Okanagan Concert Society’s presentation of Percuss3iano. From those who did attend convinced me that I should have given away my ticket (as I did for the Symphony night). The concert was amazing and the word is that if you are ever near a place where this group is performing – attend…

So even though it was Lent, there was more than enough music to make my life joyous and my brain stimulated…