by Luke Putvin
On Sunday, April 14 at Edmonds United Methodist Church, the Cascade Symphony Orchestra had its Ensemble Concert. Several small ensembles gave wonderful performances to 70 concertgoers seated in the church.
The members of the orchestra meet each Monday night. Each individual contributes over 100 hours per year in weekly rehearsals. Altogether, this ends up being about 9,000 hours annually, taking all players into consideration. All of these individuals have donated time to their community.
The Ensemble Concert opened with a brass quintet. The high ceilings of the church allowed sound to reverberate nicely, and the volume was perfect for each ensemble. There were two microphones placed overhead each ensemble, but no soloist was specifically mic-ed.
The varying ranges of each brass instrument blended with one another perfectly. When playing dense chords, you could scarcely pick out the tuba, trombone, French horn or trumpets. At times they were one, cohesive sound.
One particular piece, “It Happened Last Friday,” contained three movements: “The morning rush,” “The sunset was like a hymn with clouds” and “At a party that night.”
The piece as a whole was meant to capture an entire Friday with each movement representing a diff erent part of the day.
The first movement was like a morning rush, mentioned composer Huntley Beyer, who was in the audience. The second movement was calm, like a hymnal to nature. The last movement conveyed the feeling of being at a dinner party; the tone was light-hearted.
The concert continued with a flute solo from Jennifer Mahaffey, accompanied by David Tan on piano. Also present was a bass clarinet duo, and directly prior to intermission, a quintet of two violins, a viola, a cello and a clarinet performed Brahms’ Clarinet Quintet in B minor, op. 115.
After intermission were several more performances, including a sextet of a clarinet, bassoon, trumpet, violin, cello and piano. After this, there were multiple percussion performances.
This began with a trio of vibraphone and bongos/congas accompanied by bassoon, a xylophone soloist and the concert wrapped up with members of the Cascade Percussion Ensemble performing two pieces.
Cascade Symphony will hold its final concert of the season featuring performances of Mozart’s Flute Concerto No. 2 and Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 The Titan on May 6 at the Edmonds Center for the Arts. The event begins at 7:30pm. Tickets are $27 for adults, $22 for seniors, $15 for students and $10 for youth. Tickets are available at EdmondsCenterForTheArts.org.
To learn more about the Cascade Symphony Orchestra, its history, conductor, musicians or to audition, visit www.cascadesymphony.org.