By Marilyn Delk
Symphony orchestras are often derogatorily described as being boring and only suitable for octogenarians. I wholeheartedly oppose that description every time it is spouted, and challenge anyone to continue to believe in the accuracy of those words after attending the Toledo Symphony Orchestra concert at Henry St. Clair Memorial Hall at 8 p.m. on Saturday, May 28; this performance by TSO will close Darke County Center for the Arts’ 2021-2022 “Re: Vision” Artists Series season with an exclamation point. Anyone leaving this program still holding such a stodgy opinion should truly have their pulse and/or sanity checked!
To begin, the stalwart ensemble will play a rousing arrangement of “Battle Hymn of the Republic;” if that doesn’t stir your blood (and I don’t understand why it wouldn’t), just you wait! Other program highlights honoring the observance of Memorial Day include a “Sousa Fanfare” plus four rousing and familiar Sousa marches, a world premiere of a piece entitled “Let Freedom Ring,” a salute to the Armed Forces, our National Anthem, and the beloved “America the Beautiful.” If you are not excited yet, you are a hopeless case who will not listen to reason.
But wait, there’s even more! Also on the program is the ever-popular “Poet and Peasant Overture” which premiered in Vienna in 1846; you may remember this familiar tune from a 1930 Disney cartoon, The Barnyard Concert, with Mickey Mouse conducting an orchestra of barnyard animals. Following that fun and interesting number, TSO will launch into the peaceful, calming, beautiful “Prelude” to Hansel and Gretel by Engelbert Humperdinck (the German composer, not the British pop singer) which premiered in 1893 and is beloved to this day.
And then, concert-goers will be treated to selections from Bizet’s Carmen, which is well-known to one and all, especially the stirring “Toreador Song.” The now-revered opera opened in 1875 to negative reviews and an indifferent audience in Paris, and the composer died shortly thereafter, unaware that his work would achieve international acclaim, a status that is undiminished in the 21st century.
Yet another piece that remains popular more than a century after its composition is “Flight of the Bumblebee” by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. You’ve undoubtedly been delighted by the evocative music depicting the rapidly changing flying pattern of — what else! — a bumblebee, and I have no doubt you will be delighted once again upon hearing it performed by the master musicians of TSO with a trombone solo by musical director Alain Trudel. Trudel will also be featured on “Thoughts of Love,” a piece composed by trombone virtuoso and Sousa Band soloist Arthur Pryor.
The Toledo Symphony Orchestra, now in its 77th season, has built a strong national reputation for its artistic excellence, strongly believing in and working to achieve the goal of bringing communities together through music. The organization also prides itself on being responsible stewards of the musical arts, ensuring the survival of the treasured legacy of the past as well as the promise of the future for this essential component of life.
Tickets for the concert by Toledo Symphony Orchestra are $40 for adults; student tickets are half price. To purchase yours, contact DCCA on-line at www.DarkeCountyArts.org, or call 937-547-0908. If any remain by showtime, tickets will also be available at the door.
Marilyn Delk is the former executive director of the Darke County Center for the Arts and can be reached at [email protected] Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.