Ballet and Opera and Children, Oh My!

Last week’s masterworks was a fun concert, especially with the addition of the Appalachian Ballet  Company dancers. Obviously, I didn’t get to watch everything that they did, but the part that really intrigued me was part of the “Ritual Fire Dance” where the dancers entered while shaking prop branches. Not only did it look cool, but I loved the sound it made in addition to our own string section tremolos.

Rehearsal photo, credit: Rose Sampley

On to opera, where again, you have a better seat than I do. I really won’t be able to see anything from the orchestra pit, (did you know the Knoxville Opera productions feature your very own Knoxville Symphony Orchestra in the pit?) but it’s been fun to listen to the singers in our rehearsals where we are onstage with them in a rehearsal known as a “sitzprobe”. It’s much easier to play things together when everyone is together and you can easily see each other, but eventually the orchestra goes to the pit for two dress rehearsals and two performances. I’m always amazed that the soprano and flute duet works as well as it does even when they can’t see each other. This year, it’s soprano, Meryl Dominguez and flutist, Hannah Hammel. They were great at the sitzprobe. Here is a sneak peek.

Fun fact: KSO Principal Flute Hannah Hammel and soprano (playing the title role of Lucia) Meryl Dominguez actually attended Oberlin College together. You can read about this rather interesting connection in Diana Skinner’s article on Violinist.com here (which includes a synopsis of Donizetti’s opera, Lucia di Lammermoor, Feb. 22 & 24 at the Tennessee Theatre). Here is the Facebook event.

Next week, it’s time for the KSO to perform for a much younger audience in our Very Young People’s Concerts, which are short and fun to play. The audience is adorable, they love being in the theatre and they are excited to hear the orchestra. There are three performances: two in Maryville at the Clayton Center for the Arts on Feb. 27, and one in downtown Knoxville at the Tennessee Theatre on Feb. 28. School children will come from Knox, Anderson, Blount, Jefferson, Loudon, McMinn and Sevier counties in grades Pre-K, K, 1, & 2 to their very first symphonic show, and you can really feel the energy. Here is a video from a Very Young People’s Concert in year’s past, where the theme was “Cloudy with a Chance of Music.”

This year’s theme of the KSO Very Young People’s Concerts, which we’ll perform for more than 3,600 students, is “Symphonic Stories,” and we’ll show how music helps tell a story.

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