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Brantford Community Symphony Orchestra moves the crowd

Arts and EntertainmentBrantford Community Symphony Orchestra moves the crowd

Guests filled the pews of Fairview United Church for the Brantford Community Symphony Orchestra’s winter concert on Sunday, January 28, 2024.

The church’s colourful stained-glass windows provided a bright backdrop as the members of the community-based orchestra prepared to perform a variety of classical, broadway, jazz and contemporary numbers throughout the show.

The Brantford Community Symphony Orchestra prepares to perform its winter concert on Sunday, January 28, 2024.

Kicking off with “O Canada,” the sound of the robust orchestra filled the church as spectators settled in for the afternoon event.

Margaret McSavage, concert manager for the event, first introduced the band and their conductor before continuing with the show.

“If you’ve been to one of our concerts before, you know that the orchestra is a collection of musicians from all walks of life and interests. The orchestra itself was founded in 2012 by the late Karl Langton, and currently has 45 talented members,” she said. “…Our conductor, Deb McLoughlin, leads this wonderful group of musicians and prepares them for their performances throughout the year. Deb is a retired secondary school music teacher and plays the french horn with the Brantford Memorial Concert Band, and in her spare time, she conducts and directs this orchestra.”

The Brantford Community Symphony Orchestra members perform “Kyiv, 2022” during the winter concert on Sunday, January 28, 2024.

The musicians then performed several compositions, from “Adagio and Allegro” to “Erin Isles Sketches,” highlights from the broadway show “Wicked,” George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue,” Mozart’s “Symphony #40” and more, there were plenty of pieces to tickle the eardrums.

To end out the show, the orchestra finished off with Brian Balmages’ “Kyiv, 2022.”

“Our next piece is a powerful sequel to his other work called ‘Moscow, 1941.’ This new work changes the narrative though,” said McSavage. “With recent events, the theme of ‘Moscow, 1941’ can now represent the aggressor, and the heroic people of Ukraine are represented by the Ukrainian national anthem and the powerful song, ‘Prayer for Ukraine’. Our hearts remain with the people of Ukraine as they continue to experience the effects of war in their country.”

The Brantford Community Symphony Orchestra members perform “Defying Gravity” from the broadway show “Wicked,” during the winter concert on Sunday, January 28, 2024.

For Lisa Bontje and Joeline Hilbert of Hamilton, it was their first time seeing the orchestra perform and the two said they were impressed with what they heard.  

“I thought it was wonderful. It was just a great venue and the acoustics were lovely in there,” said Bontje. “I’m going to be honest, ‘O Canada’ blew me away because that was the first time we really heard them and I was so impressed with the sound, but for me I think I liked the Gershwin pieces the best.”

The Brantford Community Symphony Orchestra members perform George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue,” during the winter concert on Sunday, January 28, 2024.

Hilbert had similar sentiments about the performance.

“I loved the diversity of the music, they really sounded wonderful and I totally enjoyed it, ” she said. “I liked the Gershwin as well because I knew the tunes, but I loved the jazz. I don’t know much about jazz, but I recognized one song and I really loved it. It was so nice to listen to.”

The Brantford Community Symphony Orchestra members perform “Popular” from the hit broadway show “Wicked,” during the winter concert on Sunday, January 28, 2024.

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