Temptation to tragedy: music plays on

Jan DeGrass/Arts and Entertainment Writer / Staff writer
March 7, 2014 01:00 AM

A musical collaboration: (l to r) poets Ross Harry, Shelley Harrison Rae, Martha Royea and Janet Hodgkinson. Missing from the photo are poets Agnete Newman and Jancis Andrews.

The music of love, in all its aspects, filled the Heritage Play-house in Gibsons last Saturday.

Coast Symphony Orchestra's (CSO) artistic director Edette Gagne was inspired by Shake-speare's phrase, "If music be the food of love, play on." But when she tried to select music for the orchestra's performance, she found an overwhelming amount of material on the subject. She decided to narrow the concept of love to four areas: temptation, courtship, danger and tragedy.

"Love is all these things," Gagne told the audience in her pre-concert chat. "Love is amazing."

In an inspired artistic collaboration, the CSO invited Coast poets to submit their work on the subject and received 22 entries. Seven original poems were read at the concert.

This local symphony orchestra recently embraced a few new, talented members while retaining many of the Coast's music teachers and experienced musicians, giving it a cohesive, professional sound. The themed concerts reach out to attract new audience with entertaining repertoire.

Janet Hodgkinson's poem on the subject of temptation preceded a Mendelssohn piece, The Fair Melusine Overture, a musical story of a water nymph and her swain who cannot abide by her rules despite a fear of losing her.

Shelley Harrison Rae's poem reflected the theme of courtship before the orchestra played The Lovers' Waltz, so evocative of romance. Agnete Newman recited her piece, "A Measure of Time," before thelovely Sleeping Beauty Waltz by Tchaikovsky. Alec Tebbutt, the evening's narrator, read Jancis Andrews' poem "Deaf Mute?", a reminder that courtship happens in many ways.

"Our orchestra loves this next piece," Gagne said.

Bacchanale from Samson and Delilah by Saint-Saens fits the sexy thrill of danger, and Martha Royea read the appropriate poem "Rules of Engagement."

What more suitable piece of music to describe the tragedy of love than Bizet's Carmen? The orchestra played selections from the opera including the famous, much loved Chanson du Toreador and closed with the wild, drunken Danse Boheme. Shelley Harrison Rae read her piece, "Last Saturday Night."

The music ended with Ross Harry's poem "Temptation" and an encore of My Funny Valentine.

The 30-plus member CSO is part of the larger Sunshine Coast Community Orchestra Association. Another member of the orchestra, the Suncoast Concert Band, plus some of the same musicians will appear again this coming Sunday, March 9, at 7 p.m. at the Highland Centre in Roberts Creek in a Celebration of Coast Composers. This is a Sunshine Coast Music Society event that brings the Jazz Group of Seven and the Creek Big Band to the stage to showcase original compositions.

The Highland Centre (657 Highland Road) is just above the highway near the entrance to Lower Road. From Highland Road, turn into a parking lot and enjoy the comfort of the newly-built, large rehearsal and performance space. Tickets are $15 are available at Laedeli in Sunnycrest Mall, and the Sechelt Visitor Centre.


© Coast Reporter

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