“Canadian Folk Sketches” – World Premier Rehearsals

SOTK Lizzy Hoyt 2016_02_13

In the past there has been a well recognized tradition where classical composers have dipped into folkloric waters to refurbish and re-invigorate their music. In fact there are  whole national music traditions that have come into being as a result of that process. Every now and then folk musicians, rock musicians and jazz musicians have turned that process on its ear by enlisting classical musicians, most notably, symphony orchestras in support of music that is outside the normal symphony repertoire. Over the years The Symphony of the Kootenays has been involved in a number of those type of projects. Lizzy Hoyt’s Canadian Folk Sketches World Premier is the latest in that ilk. Lizzy Hoyt (vocals, guitar, fiddle, and harp) and her trio, Keith Rempel (upright bass and back-up vocals) and Chis Tabbert (guitar and Russian Soviet era mandolin) joined the Symphony and shared the solo spotlights with a number of the Symphony’s outstanding musicians. The rehearsals were on Saturday afternoon, February 13, 2016 in preparation for the premier concert later that evening. Here are some images from that rehearsal.

505. Trio plus Orchestra 100. Lizzy Hoyt    200. Keith Rempell    300. Chris Tabbert  132. Lizzy Hoyt   312. Chris Tabbert    212. Keith Rempel  310. Lizzy and Chris050. Harp  320. Chris Tabbert   408. Wendy  422. Jeff Faragher 144. Lizzy Hoyt  118. Lizzy Hoyt  316. Chris Tabbert 532. Nicola   140. Lizzy Hoyt   146. Lizzy's feet

I know the instrument doesn’t make the music. It is the musician who makes the music. However, having said that, I think it is worth focusing some attention on Lizzy’s magnificent Collings small bodied guitar (probably a Collings OM1). This a truly beautiful example of modern luthiery and it further demonstrates that we are living in a golden era of hand made instruments.050a. The Collins Guitar 126a. Lizzy and the Collings guitar

As for the repertoire it always gives me great pleasure when a Canadian musician stops looking south for musical inspiration and decides to explore the rich, varied, and largely unexplored traditions of Canada.


Symphony of the Kootenays – This is how it’s done

I ran into one of the Symphony Board Members a couple of days ago and she reminded me that this was the 40th anniversary of the Symphony. So I felt it was worth reminding people that $20,000 symphony concerts don’t “just happen” and that there is a lot that goes into a concert. Here is a reprint of an article that I sent to the Townsman some years ago. Nothing much has changed; each concert is still a masterpiece of music and organization.

IT’S SYMPHONY SEASON AND IT’S A JUGGLING ACT: Symphony of Kootenays 2010/2011 Season. Article published in The Townsman, Wednesday October 13, 2010, page 23

It would seem to be simple enough. A bunch of musicians figure they have a potential audience and decide to give a public performance. They practice and rehearse; rent a venue; put up the posters; sell the tickets; play the gig and maybe walk away with some change in their pockets. For a rock quartet it is almost that simple but for a symphony orchestra there is nothing simple about the whole venture.

Some of the problem is simply a product of scale. There are more musicians and more complex music. This in turn creates problems with financing and logistics. The Symphony of the Kootenays has been around for over 35 years and each year it is a juggling act of obtaining grants, sponsors and pull together the actual logistics of staging a concert. The organization’s annual budget is around $150,000 and each concert costs around $20,000 to $30,000. Naturally ticket sales only cover a fraction of the costs.

As with most not-for-profit organizations the grant process has become more challenging. The monies available to not-for-profits have shrunk and there is fierce competition for what remains. Most available grants have strings attached. There are demands for Canadian content and prerequisites for adventurous programming. The granting organizations want to see the “best bang for their buck”. They feel it is important to have significant Canadian content and to promote adventurous programming. Compliance with these prerequisites, because of copy right issues, further increase costs.

Local corporate sponsors have been most generous over the years but often the decision to support local arts programs is out of local control. The final decisions are made at corporate headquarters and these may be located half a continent away. Despite this the symphony has managed to attract significant corporate sponsors and these have made the idea of a symphony season feasible and possible.

The whole process of a concert season starts with the musical director and conductor Bruce Dunn and his selection of music for the up coming season. Bruce has to balance his duties as musical director of both the Kamloops Symphony, The Symphony of the Kootenays and his teaching activities across the province. He must strike a balance between the conditions of the grant applications, the skill set and availability of musicians (including soloists), the relatively small amount of rehearsal time available and the costs of the music. The latter is no small amount. The music has to be rented, distributed to the musicians and returned to the publishing house at the end of the concerts. Late compliance with the conditions of the rental can involve financial penalties. If the work is recent there are additional copyright costs as well. Printed music is not cheap. For example, the Arvo Part choral music for the Christmas concert last year cost an additional $1,500.

Once the season’s concert programs have been selected then the logistics kick in. The composition of a Symphony Orchestra is not set in concrete. The size and variety of the orchestra is dictated by the music chosen. An orchestra to perform the early music of Haydn is significantly smaller than, say, the music of more modern composers. The equation is simple, the more musicians required then the greater the expense. More modern or adventurous music invariably requires more musicians and more expensive music.

For each concert the musicians have to be selected, contracts agreed upon, fees organized, and travel expenses negotiated. The musicians are all professionals and as professionals they need to be paid at a rate that is consistent with the going rate. Musicians for the concert come from far a field and there is fairly stiff competition for their services. Financially the local symphony is at a disadvantage when competing with larger population centres in Alberta. The musicians’ contracts are generally a five service agreement, three rehearsals and two concerts, spread over a three day week end. Once in town the musician have to be billeted. The cost of hotels for all the musicians would be too onerous for the organization to bear. If there is also a concert is out of town then transport of the musicians and instruments also has to be arranged. So apart from the organization, funding, music and logistics there is an army of volunteers to take care of the musicians while they are here.

That’s a lot of balls to keep in the air. And, of course, inevitably the question arises, why bother? Classical music is definitely not at the top of most local resident’s agenda. Then again why bother with an Arts Council, a Railway Museum, local theatre and the Key City or for that matter a Hockey team. At the best of times, apart from perhaps the Hockey team, local support for these activities is probably at fairly low ebb. Most of us do not spend a lot of time at any of these events, functions or facilities but they are all part of a “value added” profile for the City of Cranbrook. It attracts new residents, business and builds the profile of the city as a business, cultural and educational hub. For all residents this can only be a plus.

So here we are in October at the beginning of the Symphony season. All the balls are in the air and the first concert is scheduled for Saturday, October 23rd, 2010 at the Key City Theatre. This gala concert will feature a program of music by one of the big “Bs” of classical music (Bach, Beethoven & Brahms). Of the three the music of Ludwig Van Beethoven is probably the better known. The piano concerto #5 (The Emperor) will feature guest soloist Sarah Aleem. Currently Sarah lives and studies in Montreal but is returning to her home town for this concert. Also on the program will be Beethoven’s Prometheus Overture and his Symphony #6 (The Pastoral)

The annual Christmas concert will held December 3rd & 4th and will feature music of a Christmas fair by Purcell and Handel, including the Messiah. Other concerts are scheduled for February and April. In total there will be 5 concerts in the season.

–       Rod Wilson

The following image was published in the Townsman following the early concerts of the 2010 / 2011 season.





 Published in the Townsman, October 29, 2010, page 23: “A Triumphant Home Coming”.– Rod Wilson

Classic Greatness – SOTK Rehearsal

6874133 Symphony of the Kootenays Susan Gould TB 03.26


  • Barber of Seville – Giaochino Rossini (1792-1868)
  • Piano Concerto in A min (Op.54) – Robert Schumann (1810-1856)
  • Symphony No.7 – Ludwig Van Beethoven (1770-1827)

Here are some images from the rehearsal:

Jeff Faragher   Robin Clegg  432a.  Susan Gould    Susan Gould Jared Zimmer    Jeremy Van Dieman    Bassoons Jeff Faragher  Ben Smith   Robin Clegg and Eve Sperling   430. Bottom Dwellers       Arne SatanoveSusan Gould Shirley Wright    Matt Weber    Robin Clegg             Susan Gould    Susan Gould   Susan Gould 436    Mat Weber Jeff Faragher  550.   Matt Weber Brass   Catherine MacKinnon Nicola Everton                   Ruth SawatskyBack Curtain



A Night at the Movies – SOTK in rehearsal

6787374 Symphony of the Kootenays Night at Movies TB 01.08

It was by pure coincidence that over the Christmas break the family sat through the entire eight Harry Potter movies. Not exactly kid stuff to my mind, particularly late in the series where the content becomes some what dark. But good does triumph over evil and that was probably the whole point. Through out the movies I was not completely oblivious to the music. It was there and it enhanced the movie without becoming a distraction. That, in itself, is an indication of the quality of the music score. However, at the Symphony of the Kootenays rehearsal on Saturday the true scope and magnificence of the movie scores positively leapt out at the audience. It was big music and it required a big orchestra. The program listed nearly 50 musicians that included the string orchestra, 6 percussionists and a big horn section. To hear the music unimpeded with visual distraction was to become aware of the magnificent orchestrations and its modern musical language. I don’t mean modern in a rock/pop sense. I mean it in an academic scholarly sense. That may sound kind of dry and dull with a possibly teeth on edge sensibility. The music of John Williams is none of that. It is startling and entrancing at the same time with lots of melody and dramatic effects. Here is the program from the concert and some images from the rehearsal.

The Program100. Orchestra 200a.   300. Anne Scott   402. John Galm 210. Eileen Kosasih   164. Jeff Faragher   214. 410a. Percussion 154. Jeff Faragher   158. Jeff Faragher   157a. Jeff Faragher202.   310. Sophia Smith   414. Percussion    422. Sven Heyde - percussionist 360. Maria Vander Hoek    244a.   630. Wendy Herbison 204. Jeremy VanDiemen   418. Percussion       710. Bassoons233. Maria Engel 702. Brass   500.177. Jeff Faragher212. Eileen Kosasih022. Header


A Breath of Fresh Air – the SOK Celtic Christmas Rehearsal

A Celtic Christmas –  A Winter’s Ramble with Harpist and Singer Keri Lynn Zwicker : The rehearsal at the Key City Theatre, Saturday December 6, 2014 12-1:30 pm. Orchestra plus guestsI have always felt that there was something missing from Christmas. In recent years my attendance at a Winter Solstice celebration in Vancouver gave me pause to think but I was still unable to arrive at a conclusion. At the Symphony of the Kootenays (SOK) rehearsal on Saturday it finally clicked. When the Bodhran (the Irish Frame drum) roared into life within a rousing Celtic tune I had an epiphany. What has been missing all these years is the essential pagan element of the season’s celebration. The season has been diluted and polluted with so much tinsel town garbage over the years that we have forgotten, that despite the Christian overlay, from the beginning of time the Winter Solstice (Christmas) is essentially  a pagan festival. The SOK, Harpist Keri Lynn Zwicker and the Bodhran player Nathan McCavana restored some of that essential pagan essence to the music of the season. Sure, it was Christmas music but with a primordial pagan pulse that gives new life and vitality to a musical landscape that,  over the years, has become kinda blah. After all, how many times can we listen to I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas and still be emotionally stirred? Here are some images from the rehearsal.

216. Keri Lynn Zwicker318. Nathan McCavanaWendy Herbison - Concert Master  Viola   Beth Thomson Jeff Faragher               Wendy Herbison - Concert MasterBeth Thomson       Liz Tremblay Keri Lynn Zwicker470a.   Sven Heyde   432. Jeff Faragher    Shirley Wright    Keri Lynn Zwicker Beth Thomson Percussion - Sven Heyde and Courtney Crawford  480.   Ben SmithThe Trio   Aurora SmithBass Bass Keri Lynn Zwicker    Jeff in the trio    Keri Lynn Zwicker

and now for the essential pagan element : THE BODHRAN – here is the wikipedia entry:









“The bodhrán (/ˈbɔrɑːn/[1] or /ˈbrɑːn/; plural bodhráns) is an Irish frame drum ranging from 25 to 65 cm (10″ to 26″) in diameter, with most drums measuring 35 to 45 cm (14″ to 18″). The sides of the drum are 9 to 20 cm (3½” to 8″) deep. A goatskin head is tacked to one side (synthetic heads or other animal skins are sometimes used). The other side is open-ended for one hand to be placed against the inside of the drum head to control the pitch and timbre. One or two crossbars, sometimes removable, may be inside the frame, but this is increasingly rare on modern instruments. Some professional modern bodhráns integrate mechanical tuning systems similar to those used on drums found in drum kits. It is usually with a hex key that the bodhrán skins are tightened or loosened depending on the atmospheric conditions.” Frame drums are found all over the world and the wikipedia articles goes on to list around 40 different regional variations. Nathan’s Bodhran is a little different fron the traditional in that it is tear dropped shaped. Like a lot of modern players,  Nathan uses “bamboo bundles” as a beater. He also uses a small condenser clip-on microphone to re-enforce the sound (after all he is competing with a symphony orchestra). Also note the black “electrical tape” trim around the top. This is used to reduced unwanted overtones.

316. Nathan McCavana
















The final pagan bonus in the rehearsal and one that may not have made it to the actual concert was Nathan’s rousing rendition of THE POGUES  The Fairy Tale of New York with its classic line “And the bells are ringing out for Christmas Day”   – a far cry from I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas:


Symphony of the Kootenays – Celebration of Excellence

Symphony of the Kootenays Season Finale

Open Rehearsal, Saturday April 12, 2014, 12-2pm: Key City Theatre, Cranbrook. Why? It is actually a rhetorical question. With around 100 musicians and 6 orchestral configurations in the performance it was an opportunity for the orchestra and its organizers to demonstrate the complexities of putting together the evening’s concert. Apart from the music it was a case of getting the logistics smoothed out. Judging from the smooth performance later in the evening it achieved its goal while connecting with potential audiences and patrons. Here are some images from the rehearsals.

353. Strings

 Evan Bueckert   Jeff Faragher   Martine denBok  MBSS Band   Catherine MacKinnon & Aura Pon  302.   Evan Bueckert   Anne Scott   300. Band     Robin Clegg and the Cleggetts Martine denBokCellos and Bass 360. Evan Bueckert Violins 362. Ruth Langevin    Aura Pon   Evan Bueckert  Jeff Faragher    Julian Bueckert   520.    Liz Tremblay                                               364. 404. Ruth Langevin, Catherine MacKinnon, Aura Pon & Amy Melnychuk     Barb Hume, Nicola Everton, Jonathan GreslMartine denBokRehearsals are over, it’s time for the boots to hit the pavement ……..


Last Concert of the Season, Saturday April 12, 2014, 7:30:pm: Key City Theatre, Cranbrook with guest conductor Evan Bueckert and  the following program:

  • William Tell Overture – Gioachino Rossini
  • Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 – Johann Sebastian Bach
  • Caravan – Juan Tizol / Duke Ellington arr. Saucedo
  • Blue Rondo a la Turk – Dave Brubeck
  • Harry Potter Orchestral Suite – John Williams
  • Waltz #2 – Dimitri Shostakovich
  • Concerto for Cello in E minor – Edward Elgar : featuring Jeff Faragher

The common wisdom is to start a program with something strong and familiar and Rossini’s William Tell Overture certainly filled that bill. Every person who grew up in front of the Saturday morning TV cartoons would be familiar with the thunderous brass and percussion fanfare that is the signature of that piece. After the fanfare of the overture died away the logistics crew swung into action and reconfigured the orchestra for the  Bachstring ensemble of Martine denBok, Sanja Suplevska, Robin Grewcock (violins); Graham Tagg, Alexis Moore, Duarte Silva (violas); Jeff Faragher, Anne Scott, Liz Trembley (Cellos) and Alex Nichol (bass). The string ensemble, without the usual harpsichord continuo, was grouped on stage in a small semi-circle.  It achieved the ambience of a private performance in a some old country estate and was perfect for the Brandenburg Concerto. Earlier in the afternoon, during the rehearsals, Barry Coulter (editor of the Townsman) had entered the theater just as the concerto rehearsal started and he could barely contain his excitement. His response was justified;  the performance literally bounced and sang with a vibrancy that is such a characteristic of the music of Bach. This  Brandenburg concerto was written in 1721 and, here we are nearly 300 MBSS Bandyears later, and the music is still exciting to hear. Students from the MBSS music program kicked off the jazz and concert band portion of the program with Juan Tizol’s Jazz classic Caravan. Although often attributed to Duke Ellington the Puerto Rican valve trombonist Juan Tizol, a member of Duke’s orchestra for many years, wrote the piece in 1936. Not quite as long ago as the Brandenberg Concerto but still going strong after 78 the soloists MBSS bandyears in the standard jazz repertoire (click on the link for a taste of the original  Juan Tizol’s Caravan). A more recent composition is the 1959  Blue Rondo a la Turk by Dave Brubeck that is in 9/8 with a swing 4/4 feel. The piece was incorrectly thought to be based on Mozart’s Rondo alla Turca The piece was actually inspired by a street performance by a Turkish musician. Turkish music is very big on “eighth” rhythms such as 7/8, 9/8, 11/8. etc. The MBSS musicians finished off their selection with the film music from the Harry Potter series – Harry Potter Orchestral Suite. Once again the musicians of the MBSS music program, under the direction of Evan Bueckert, continued to amaze audiences with their level of musicianship and their ability to integrate into the symphony orchestra. Dimitri Shostakovich is a Russian composer of the Stalinist era so it was surprise (to me) to hear such a Germanic composition as Waltz#2 coming from such an unlikely source. With the tubas, bass drum and  Jeff Faragherpercussion it was Oomph-pa music of a superior quality. When I heard that Jeff Faragher was going to perform Edward Elgar”s Concerto in E Minor I deliberately refrained from revisiting the definitive recording by the late great Jacqueline du Pre. I wanted to approach the evening’s performance with a clear mind unclouded by any vivid memories of that recording. I was amply rewarded by the live freshness of Mr. Faragher’s performance. For the encore percussionist Robin Clegg reworked some Bach melodic motifs into an impromptu Celtic inspired romp for cello and orchestra. It was a fitting end of an evening’s “Celebration of Excellence”. Here are some more images of the evening’s performances.

 Evan Bueckert - Guest Conductor    Steen Jorgensen - President  Jeff Faragher - Musical Director  MBSS Band   Martine denBok - Concert Master   300.   flutes & oboes        The Bottom End Dwellers Evan Bueckert    Lena Ruiz  Anne Scott Jeff Faragher  435.   Robin Clegg   Evan Bueckert   MBSS Band        Evan Bueckert Sophie Smith    Band  Sophia Smith  Jeff Faragher    Jeff Faragher  Jeff Faragher  Jeff Faragher Martine denBok  Martine denBok  Liz Tremblay   Sanja Suplevska-Bioral   437.Robin Clegg      430.

So ends a Season of Excellence. The Symphony of the Kootenays is once again back on a solid musical and financial footing and the following program for the coming 2014-2015 season promises more of the same.

  •  Concert #1 – From Old Worlds to New : Finlandia (Jean Sibelius); Holberg Suite (Edvard Grieg); Symphony No. 9 “From the New World” (Antonin Dvorak).
  • Concert #2 – A Celtic Christmas featuring Harpist Keri Lynn Zwicker.
  • Concert #3 – A Night at the Movies
  • Concert #4 – Classical Greatness featuring pianist Susan Gould playing Robert Schumann’s Piano Concerto in A minor (it is a pity we have to wait a whole year for this). Also on the program Rossini’s Barber of Seville and Beethoven’s Symphony No.7

So sign up and gear up for another exciting season.




Symphony of the Kootenays: Sultans of String

Symphony of the KootenaysSymphony of the Kootenays and the Sultans of String rehearsals, Key City Theatre, February 1, 12 noon, February 1, 2014.

” And then the man, he steps right up to the microphone.
And says at last, just as the time bell rings,
“Goodnight, now it’s time to go home.”
And he makes it fast, with one more thing:
“We’re the Sultans,
“We are the Sultans of Swing.” Songwriter: KNOPFLER, MARK

Mind you there is no connection between the Dire Straight album and the Symphony of the Kootenays concert. There is just the resonance of the song title and the name of the The Sultans and SKOsymphony orchestra guests – THE SULTANS OF STRING – that has so much appeal. Dire Straights was a rock band singing about musicians from another era. The Sultans are not about rock music. Their musical arena is more about a whole mixed bag of World music, Latin, Gypsy, Swing etc. Chris' 6 string violinThe Sultans of String are Chris McKhool (6 string violin, mandolin), Drew Birston (electric bass),   Drew BirstonKevin Laliberte (carbon-fibre guitar) and Alberto Suarez (percussion). This rehearsal was the fore runner of what promised to be a very unique night of music. Unfortunately I was double booked (again) and not able to make the Saturday night concert. However, I did make the afternoon rehearsals and the Sunday Fiddle Fire (concert for kids). It was pretty exciting and entertaining stuff to hear the Symphony exploring a whole new approach to making music. The music is the brain child of Chris McKhool and Kevin Laliberte Kevin Lalibertewith orchestrations by Rebecca Pellett. Although the rehearsal didn’t present the music in a program coherent form there were enough snippets to entice the visiting rehearsal audience to maybe come back later that evening for the full concert. For me there were a number of outstanding moments. In the exploration of the mandolin the unexpected and joyous snippet from a Vivaldi mandolin concerto was so amazingly fresh and startling that it certainly made me sit  Alberto Suarezup. Kevin Laliberte’s guitar solos were some other high points. His Carbon-Fibre guitar, with it’s odd shape, looked way different from a conventional classical guitar yet, despite the on-board amplification, produced, when required,  a pure classical sound. It also appeared to be amendable to the sound manipulation that we associate with most electric guitars. His technique ran though the whole spectrum of guitar music – flat pick, finger picking, classical, jazz, flamenco etc. Drew Birston’s electric bass is, obviously, a central part of the Sultan’s Sound and added a different bass dimension (pizzicato bass melody) to the orchestrations. Being an amateur musician who tinkers with percussion I was completely captivated by the Cuban musician Alberto Suarez’s rhythmic excursions on the Peruvian Cojon (basically a wooden box), snare drum, brushes, cymbals, rattles and the middle eastern Darbuka (Turkish Goblet drum). His role in the music was re-enforced by the symphony percussionists  Robin Clegg, Sven Heyde and Bruce Hunter. Their arsenal of drums and percussion would be enough to fill your average basement. The Sultans of String were obviously having fun playing with a symphony and the orchestra pit was just a sea of smiling faces. I am sure the evening concert lived up to the promise of the rehearsals. Here are some more images from the rehearsal – enjoy:

Chris McKool    Kevin Lalberte  Alberto Suarez  Chris McKool   Kevin Laliberte  Jeff Faragher    Chris McKhool  Jeff Faragher  Sophia Smith  Lena Ruiz Anne Scott       French Horn - Dale Green  Alberto Suarez  Alberto Suarez Chris McKool  050.  Sophia Smith  Robin Clegg   Ruth Langevin and Catherine MacKinnon  Sven Heyde  Jeff Faragher Alberto Suarez   Ruth Sawatsky   Alberto Suarez Chris and Kevin      Kevin Laliberte Alberto Suarez   Wendy Herbison  Alberto Suarez  Chris and KevinChris McKhool’s Fiddle Fire, Key City Theatre Sunday February 2, 2014, 2pm.

The KidsKevin Laliberte  Chris McKhool  Alberto Suarez Sophia Smith  007.  Violins Jeff Faragher Kevin and Chris   Orchestra Chris McKhool  Anne Scott  410. Percussion  Brass   Woodwinds Bruce Hunter   Sophia Smith  Chris Mckhool Jeff Faragher  Kevin Laliberte  Alberto Suarez    Kevin and the kids    Jeff Faragher  Chris and the kids  Chris McKhool  Jeff Faragher  Chris McKhool  Jeff Faragher  Manuscript    Gong  700. The Kids@@@@@@@@@@

Symphony of the Kootenays: A World of Joy – rehearsals

Symphony of the Kootenays Rehearsal, Cranbrook Alliance Church Saturday November 30, 2013, 12md – 13:30.   

SOTK Nov 30 2013 poster Inviting patrons to the rehearsal, what a great idea. I think the Symphony has come up with a winner with this one and I think the patrons at the rehearsal would agree. There was a good crowd in this spectacular church for the snippets of what was promising to be an outstanding concert. The orchestra and choir look great and the lighting and sound was excellent (thanks to Dean Siewert and Len Palajak). I would go so far as to the say that the lighting, in particular, was more than a notch above similar efforts at the Key City Theatre. Visually the black backdrop with the lights on the musicians gave depth, contrast and definition to the scene. I know it is probably a lot more work to present the Symphony in the Alliance Church but I feel it is a more suitable venue than the Key City Theatre. I am sure I missed a great concert later that evening but, because of prior engagements,  unfortunately I was unable to attend. Definitely my loss. However, here are some images of the rehearsal that I would like to share with fellow patrons.  The Orchestra

and sharing his special brand of joy, the conductor Jeff Faragher.

114. Jeff Faragher Wendy Herbison   Anne Scott   440.   520. Trombones   Jeff Faragher    Liz Tremblay  Male Chorus              Roger Mitchell   220.          Chorus   454. Lena Ruiz Jeff Faragher   Sophia Smith   554.  222.    Graham Tagg   Sven Heyde  Wendy Herbison and              426.   Lena Ruiz              Sophia Smith and Anne Scott   Jeff Faragher          Jeff Faragher   Abstract       556. 422.       Liz Tremblay   Jeff Faragher      Jeff Faragher   Bronwyn LeBlanc      500.  The Orchestra



Symphony of the Kootenays: “in the pit” with cellist Liz Tremblay

 Liz TrembleyIt’s a jungle out there. Or, at least a forest of wood. The over whelming view of a symphony orchestra is the string sections at the front. Sure there are other instruments in the orchestra but, like electrical wiring and plumbing, they are mostly out of sight. The prevailing color scheme is amber and brown so that the grey of Liz Tremblay’s carbon fibre cello is a not an unpleasant disruption in the traditional mosaic of a symphony orchestra. For centuries string instruments have been constructed out of wood by highly skilled artisans and high quality instruments are expected to last “for ever”. Having said that, a vintage instrument of today is not the same instrument that left the artisan’s shop hundreds of years ago. They change, mature, have accidents,  are repaired  and modified to preserve the sound and to stay in top condition. Wood is a renewable resource and, except for the voracious appetite for high quality “Tone Woods” for quality musical instruments, should be sustainable. Some of these woods are going into short supply and governments have been forced to enact legislation to protect endangered species. Of particular note is the threatened Brazilian Rosewood, Indian and African Ebony. The exploitation of these woods is protected by legislation and luthiers are required to only use wood from certified sources. To offset the dwindling supply of traditional tone woods builders are turning to others from lesser known species and, more recently, to the use of Carbon Fibre. The later has been used in a number of products, including guitars, for years. A musician, Luis Leguia of the Boston Symphony, who has a passion for sailing noted the strength and resonant qualities of carbon fibre boats and started experimenting with the use of that material in musical instruments. Over the years, with the help of Steve Clark, he developed a line of instruments using carbon fibre  that is lighter, stronger and cheaper than the best of traditional instruments. And, against the conservative tide, they are gradually becoming accepted as instruments of choice  (Luis and Clark Instruments). These are not “plastic toy” instruments; their construction and finishing still requires a high level of craftsmanship and dedication to produce an instrument that will satisfy very discerning customers.   Carbon Fibre cello – part 1  Carbon Fibre cello – part 2

Apart from the environmental issues these instruments address a number of other significant concerns. There is the cost of course. High quality vintage instruments can be priced up into the stratosphere and are simply out of the reach of the average student and professional musician. The Luis and Clark instruments, compared to your average quality guitar (around $2,000) may seem expensive, but compared to their wooden counterparts they are at least attainable. The carbon fibre Violins and Violas are around $5,000 / $6,000, Cellos around $7,000 and the Bass is around $12,000. Wooden instruments are very susceptible to climatic conditions. Carbon fibre instruments are generally immune to dramatic variations in temperature and humidity. A touring Ontario musician reports that even in sub-zero Canadian conditions these instruments can be left over night in transport vehicles  without coming to harm. When taken indoors and allowed to warm to room temperature they respond without any ill effects. This is an attribute that must have had some appeal to Symphony of the Kootenay cellist Liz Trembley. She has lived and performed in Bermuda, Ontario and Calgary so she understands the impact and dangers of climate on fine instruments. The carbon fibre cello instruments are very strong and light and the flexibility of the construction techniques allows for design modifications that improve the comfort and playability of the instruments. And, on top of all that they are stunningly beautiful with a great sound.

Here are some more images of Carbon Fibre instruments.

 Liz Tremblay  Liz Tremblay   Liz Tremblay Carbon Fibre Instruments  AppleMark LuisandClarkCELLO.backcarbon@@@@@@@@@@@

Symphony of the Kootenays – New Beginnings

Symphony of the Kootenays – Concert #1: New Beginnings, Key City Theatre, October 20, 2013, 2 pm

 Symphony of the Kootenays New Beginnings TB 09CONCERT PROGRAM:

RODEO – Aaron Copland (1900-1990) : Buckaroo Holiday / Hoe-Down

CONCERTO FOR OBOE Op.9 No.2 in D Minor – Tomaso Albinoni (1671-1751) Featuring Mr. Gerard Gibbs on Oboe : Allegro e non Presto / Adagio / Allegro

THE MOLDAU – Bedrich Smetna (1824-1884)

Symphony No.4 Op.90 in A Major “The Italian Symphony” – Felix Mendelssohn (1809- 1847)

 Here are some images from a very successful concert.

 Steen Jorgensen      SOK Jeff Faragher   Gerard Gibbs  Wendy Herbison - Concert Master  200a.  250.   Sven Heyde  208.  240. Jeff Faragher  210.  222.      Alexis Moore 294.  Gerard Gibbs  216.  Grant Freeman  Jeff Faragher   240.  Ruth Sawatsky John Galm  Anne Scott   Grant Freeman Jeff Faragher   Gerard Gibbs  Dave Ward and Tim Bullen   Liz Trembley  Wendy Herbison  Sven Heyde   Dave Ward   Jeff Faragher  Gerard Gibbs and Terry Jeffers  Jeff Faragher  Jeff Faragher              Jeff Faragher

Members and Patrons of the Symphony of the Kootenays would like to thank St. Eugene Golf Resort & Casino, Prestige Hotels and Resorts, Tamarack Mall, and Sweet Gestures for their generous donations.


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