‘Beethoven to Broadway’ comes to Aspen
If you go …
What: “Beethoven to Broadway,” presented by Symphony in the Valley
When and where:
Saturday at 7 p.m., Wheeler Opera House in Aspen
Sunday at 4 p.m., Glenwood Springs High School
Cost: $10 for adults, $6 for children
More information: Tickets for the Aspen concert are available at the Wheeler box office and www.aspenshowtix.com. Tickets for the Glenwood concert will be available at the door.
It’s been 20 years since two local classical musicians rounded up fellow Roaring Fork Valley instrumentalists and vocalists to form a community orchestra.
That group, founded by violinist Chick Overington and flutist Karin White, become Symphony in the Valley, which stages performances from Aspen to Glenwood Springs to Rifle — all with volunteer musicians.
For its annual Mother’s Day concerts this weekend, the symphony is looking back at highlight performances from its first two decades and reprising those memorable moments on stage. Dubbed “Beethoven to Broadway,” the show offers diverse musical selections ranging from Vivaldi and Tchaikovsky to “Pick a Pocket” and “Give My Regards to Broadway.”
Performances are scheduled in Aspen on Saturday and in Glenwood Springs on Sunday.
“We are reprising a lot of the favorite things from over the past 20 years,” said Kelly Thompson, the symphony’s music director and conductor. “And a lot of the people who were soloists or singers over those years are coming back,”
Like most of Symphony in the Valley’s leadership, Thompson himself began as an orchestra member — he started playing trumpet and percussion with the symphony in 2001.
Among past symphony members coming back for the anniversary celebration is Jessica Brownell, who now lives in Philadelphia. She returns to play Vivaldi’s Trumpet Concerto for Two Trumpets in C major, a piece she memorably performed in 2002 with Thompson, when she was a senior at Rifle High School.
Yale Work — a cellist who grew up in Snowmass Village, began playing with Symphony in the Valley in junior high school and went on to the Aspen Music Festival and School — returns to reprise his performance of Haydn’s Concerto for Cello in C major.
Paul Dankers, music director of the Snowmass Chapel, will sing John Denver’s “Annie’s Song,” which the symphony first performed in 2006 with former members of Denver’s band.
Other compositions in the lineup include Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, Orff’s “Carmina Burana” and Mozart’s Concerto for Flute and Harp.
Several numbers from Symphony in the Valley’s popular 2007 partnership with Aspen Community Theatre also are planned for the weekend’s concerts, including songs from “Oliver!” “The Wizard of Oz,” “Pippin” and “A Little Night Music.”
The shows will close with Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture.” An outdoor performance of that classical favorite by Symphony in the Valley in 2005 included a live cannon blast, provided by Smuggler Mine co-owner Jay Parker.
Wendy Larson, the symphony’s conductor from 1994 to 2008 and now its conductor emeritus, selected the pieces for the 20th-anniversary show, picking the compositions that had proved most popular. She will conduct this weekend’s performances along with Thompson and associate conductor John Bokram.
“She just picked several things that she knew had gone over well and that folks enjoyed,” Thompson said.
The symphony has been rehearsing for the past seven weeks, though some of the out-of-town soloists just returned to join in this week.
Larson has been with the symphony nearly from its founding and has seen it grow in both its quantity of musicians and its quality of musicianship. She began as a cellist in the symphony before leading it for 14 years. In 2008, she passed her baton to Mesa State College music teacher Carlos Elias, who left the Roaring Fork Valley and the symphony this year.
Over the past 20 years, the symphony’s Mother’s Day concerts have become a local tradition, and the symphony has added features such as children’s concerts and its annual concerto competition. From its founding, Symphony in the Valley has aimed to provide a venue for local musicians to perform, live concerts for a local audience and educational opportunities for youngsters. The symphony’s membership these days numbers as many as 65 members, drawing musicians from throughout the Roaring Fork Valley and Mesa County. Its first concert, at the Glenwood Springs High School Auditorium in December 1993, drew 42 players to the fledgling organization.
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