Music is more than a collection of sounds and vibrations. Music captures the essence of human emotion in a way that is universally understood, creating a shared human experience around the world.
Every spring the music director of the Strathcona Symphony Orchestra (SSO) sits down and plans out the music for the entire next year. It is a balancing act between skill level of musicians (it changes every year), available music (or funds to buy it, if it is not in the SSO library) and audience desire and appreciation. A daunting task and not for the faint-hearted. Never fear, our conductor, Helena Jung, is more than up for the challenge.
This year’s music was successfully chosen in June and was distributed at the first practice in September. It is always exciting getting the new season’s music. A few weeks had passed with everyone getting to the business of practising. So it came as a bit of a surprise when there was a message to the SSO Facebook page stating “are you the Orchestra in Courtenay that purchased a piece called A Christmas Song, arranged by Daryl McKenzie?”
Yes, we were that orchestra. Okay, who would ask such a question? It turns out that it came from Daryl McKenzie himself, who just so happens to be the musical director of the Daryl McKenzie Jazz Orchestra and trombonist in Melbourne, Australia. He was delighted to know that his arrangement was making its Canadian debut with the Strathcona Symphony Orchestra. The Christmas Song was originally written by two Americans; Robert Wells and Mel Torme back in 1945. It was recently arranged by Australian Daryl McKenzie and soon to be performed by the Strathcona Symphony Orchestra in Canada. It really is a small musical world!
The Dec. 7 and 8 SSO concerts at Native Sons Hall, under the direction of Helena Jung, are an eclectic mix of the worldly music starting with Mozart, featuring our talented soloists: Tom Spratt/clarinet, Yolanda Lehton/French horn, Mark Hoskins/trumpet, Barry Falk/trombone, Monica Maxwell/flute and moving to seasonal favourites including one with Australian influence, A Christmas Song arranged by Daryl McKenzie. The MC (master of ceremonies) for this wonderful event is none other than Mozart himself (also known as Steve Hill). Tickets are available at Blue Heron Books in Comox, Benjamin Moore House of Color in Courtenay and The Music Plant in Campbell River.