Pierre Simard, conductor and artistic director of the Vancouver Island Symphony, brings The Waltz to Courtenay. Photo submitted (Dirk Heydemann)

Symphony at the Sid celebrates Strauss in Courtenay

Vancouver Island Symphony (VIS) is celebrating the new year in mid-January, with a popular Viennese tradition of lighthearted music and an elegant and entertaining soirée.

The Jan. 19, 2 p.m. performance of The Waltz is designed in keeping with “Salute to Vienna” New Year’s Eve events, that are growing in popularity worldwide, and features the most famous waltz ever written, The Blue Danube.

In Vienna, The Blue Danube waltz (actually not one waltz but a chain of five interlinked waltz themes) is played all year round, in restaurants, shops, and hotels and is Austria’s unofficial national anthem. Without it, the New Year’s concert in Vienna (or in the Comox Valley) would not be complete.

“The story behind this show is tied to Viennese tradition. The Viennese Philharmonic Orchestra for years puts on a New Year’s celebration, which features the orchestra performing waltzes and polkas every year,” said Pierre Simard, conductor and artistic director of VIS. “Johann Strauss was considered the king of the waltz in the 19th century. He wrote so much music, you could have years of repertoire with his music alone, and then his son Johann Strauss Jr. only added to that magnificent body of work.”

“Vienna was ‘the’ music city in the world at that time. Anyone who wanted to make it as a musician – had to make it there. It was the popular music of the time, and these composers embraced it and made it their brand.”

One only needs to Google “Salute to Vienna” to understand the depth and variety of the New Year celebrations, which normally take place on Jan. 1 and are a growing trend across Canada as well. VIS decided to extend the party into January and present its own version of the uplifting event. Patrons are invited to celebrate with a reception with the musicians after the performance.

Many of those celebrating this Viennese New Year tradition with VIS on Jan. 19 will be anticipating certain elements and music during the concert, adds Simard.

“As soon as the orchestra starts the applause erupts, and the orchestra gets up and takes a bow,” he said. “There are enough people in the audience who know this tradition and so others will likely follow suit, even if they aren’t sure why the applause is happening just then. Also, The Blue Danube is the epitome and is always played as an encore. That is a tradition that we will recreate here.

“We know our audience will love to welcome in the New Year with this rich Viennese tradition to lift their spirits.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Courtenay’s first privately-owned retail cannabis store now open

Courtenay’s first privately-owned retail cannabis outlet is open for business. La Pachi… Continue reading

Possibly stolen goods recovered by Comox Valley RCMP

Was your car broken into recently?

Herb Alpert tribute coming to Courtenay

One of the favourite Georgia Straight Jazz Society shows presented at Thursday… Continue reading

Check out a new future at career and education fair in Comox

Event today features booths from more than 40 employers and educational institutions

North Island College’s pop-up restaurant returns to The Park in Comox

North Island College tourism and hospitality students are joining forces with chef… Continue reading

VIDEO: Mass coronavirus quarantines seen in China won’t happen in Canada, authorities say

‘If a case comes here, and it is probably … it will still be business as normal’

Comox Valley Beefs & Bouquets for the week of Jan. 21

Bouquets to and from the Adopt-a-Grandparent program; beef to people setting off fireworks

Province’s oldest practising lawyer shares advice at her 100th birthday party

Firefighters bring Constance Isherwood a cake with 100 birthday candles

Vernon woman suing McDonald’s for spilled coffee

Woman seeking nearly $10K, says employee failed to put lid on properly

Diners’ health tax not catching on in B.C., restaurant group says

Small businesses look for options to cover employer health tax

B.C. comic wins judgment after club owner slaps cellphone out of his hands

Incident happened last summer when Garrett Clark was performing in Abbotsford

Owner surrenders dog suffering from days-old gunshot wound to B.C. SPCA

The dog was also found to be emaciated and suffering from a flea infestation

B.C. man dies after police called for ‘firearms injury’ in rural Alberta

Victim is 30-year-old Greater Victoria man, say police

Most Read