Classical musicians to take audience on global adventure
By: Tammy Rollie
| Posted: Wednesday, Feb 13, 2013 10:28 am
Two talented musicians are taking music lovers on a tour around the world with a range of sounds from classical European to contemporary American in an evening performance in Okotoks Feb. 17.
Members of the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra are bringing some of the best classical music to the Okotoks stage in its concert “Around the World in 60 minutes” at the Rotary Performing Arts Centre on Feb. 17 at 3 p.m. Such songs include Eine Kleine Nachtmusik by Mozart in Austria and “The Ugly Duckling” by Aura Pon in Canada.
Bassoon player Michael Hope is pairing up with violinist Lenora Leggatt in their duet debut in this classical music journey. Hope has been with the orchestra for 30 years and Leggett joined in September.
“We are pretty excited about it,” Hope said. “We do music together everyday and that’s how you really get to know a person and figure out what they are all about and what their sensibilities are. She is so fresh and full of positive sparkle all the time and that’s why I wanted to play with her.”
The orchestra brings a variety of instruments to Okotoks through its four-year-old outreach program, where the orchestra’s performers talk about their instruments and music in solo and duet performances in communities across Alberta.
Hope said those who haven’t heard the bassoon before are in for a treat.
“The bassoon is a humourous sound, which can sometimes be grouchy,” he said. “It can make people laugh.”
Hope said the bassoon is often the instrument band directors assign to slower learning band students, but when Hope joined the band program as a child it was his instrument of choice.
“I wanted to play it because the sound of it is pretty unusual and it tickles your mouth when you play,” he said.
Hope said he is eager to teach his audience about the unique qualities of the instrument this weekend.
“This is what we love about coming out to communities is we actually get a chance to talk to people,” he said. “It doesn’t happen very often when we are playing on stage in downtown Calgary because our concerts are very formal. We love to take questions and we love to give answers.”
What Hope likes about the outreach program is the opportunity to interact with people and to meet their needs as an entertainer.
“We love to see reactions of people when we are playing for them,” he said. “It’s instant feedback on the fly and you get to see how people are reacting to how you are doing. Watching a person’s face and body language gives us energy or gives us direction to play differently.”
Performing a duet also means more work, said Hope.
“It’s quite athletic,” he said. “It requires a lot of stamina and concentration and because there are only two instruments you hardly ever stop playing.”
The Toronto native said he is thrilled to be a part of the orchestra’s outreach program and have the opportunity to meet people from across Alberta.
“It’s one of the of hallmarks of what I call the modern Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra which makes me as proud of the organization as I’ve ever been,” he said. “I feel like we are embedding ourselves into the community. When we can go and be with people at their own places it’s nice and warm and intimate.”
Town of Okotoks cultural and historical services team leader Allan Boss said the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra’s outreach program has been met with much enthusiasm.
“They are great and people are really enjoying it,” he said. “We are going to keep doing it.”
Boss said he is impressed with the attendance.
“We’ve had some concerts on Sunday afternoon with about 100 people there, which is pretty darn good in that facility,” he said. “Then we’ve had other concerts with 50 people. It’s a great way to spend your Sunday afternoon.”
Those planning to take in “Around the World in 60 Minutes” in the final performance by the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra this season will be pleasantly surprised, said Boss.
“Not only will you hear great classical music you will learn about different types of classical music in the world with top ranked musicians,” he said.
The Okotoks Arts Council is bringing the Mount Royal University Conservatory to its stage next for seven consecutive Sunday performances in March and April.
Tickets to see “Around the World in 60 Minutes” are $15 in advance or $20 at the door. Advance tickets are available at the Okotoks Art Gallery or by calling 403-938-3204.