Concert review: Yuletide Tales

Okanagan Symphony rings in Christmas

by Anita Perry, special to the Western News

The Okanagan Symphony Orchestra wrapped up 2018 with a sparkling and energetic holiday concert entitled Yuletide Tales. Featuring the full orchestra, 109 members of the OSO Youth Chorus and narrator/bass-baritone Garry Gable, it was a concert to pull even the most Grinchiest into full holiday swing.

The concert opened with Leroy Anderson’s classic Christmas Festival. This arrangement of seven Christmas songs featured Anderson’s signature lush orchestration and arranging expertise. The orchestra and chorus were tight with all eyes glued on conductor Rosemary Thomson throughout. Entries were clean and the tuning on pitch for the chorus’s harmonized sections.

Next on the program was a quasi-theatrical performance of the Dr. Seuss classic, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, narrated by guest baritone-bass Garry Gable. The music, composed by Albert Hague, was performed as well as any Hollywood soundstage orchestra by the OSO. The lack of visuals allowed the audience to focus on the cartoonish orchestration and the brilliance of the rhyming text. Despite some initial technical difficulties, Gable acted each part with aplomb, from the foul Mr. Grinch to the innocent Cindy Lou Who. Again, the OSO Youth Chorus lent their voices to Trim Up the Tree, Welcome Christmas and Fahoo Foraze while Gable’s rich baritone shivered through You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch.

The chorus also shone in Clement Moore’s ’Twas the Night Before Christmas, music composed by Ken Darby and arranged by Harry Simone. This was clearly a challenging tour de force for these high school students and they rose admirably to the occasion. There was lovely harmonization and tight ensemble entries. It was moving to witness all those young faces in shining rapt attention, totally committed to the music and their conductor. Kudos to baritone Anthony Knight, third-year opera major, for his ringing solo.

No seasonal concert would be complete without an audience sing-along and the OSO obliged with God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen. There was something magical and moving in the sound of a capacity theatre audience singing lustily with orchestral accompaniment, quite the spine-tingling moment and one not soon forgotten.

For the final number, the OSO welcomed Garry Gable and the OSO youth chorus back for a musical rendition of Welsh poet Dylan Thomas’ A Child’s Christmas in Wales. The music, composed by Gary Fry, consisted of sparkling arrangements of classic Christmas carols and original work using text from the story. The attention to the detail of performance was no less than if the ensemble were performing a Schubert symphony. Thomson ensured the massive ensemble held together with clean entries and flowing pulse.

Altogether, it was a delightful concert and one that left the audience buoyed and in great holiday spirits. Merry Christmas.

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

Just Posted

Fire crews respond to ‘false malicious’ fire alarm at Penticton business

The Penticton Fire Department was called to a structure fire that turned out to be a false alarm

“Who” dunnit? Penticton RCMP seek midnight masked bandit

If you recognize this culprit and give a hoot, call Penticton RCMP

Penticton man arrested, charged for local drug trafficking operation

41-year-old Ryan Chaffey of Penticton was arrested at a suite on the 1000 block of Westminster Ave.

Penticton curlers reflect on B.C. Winter Games

If they could do it again, they would. A group of junior… Continue reading

Penticton RCMP seeking suspect of vandalism to Chinese place of gathering

RCMP are investigating a reported incidence of vandalism after an alleged racially-motivated attack

Morning Start: Abraham Lincoln’s dog was also assassinated

Your morning start for Thursday, February 27, 2020

Should you shave your beard to stop COVID-19? The U.S. CDC has a guide

Facial hair could be a big no-no if COVID-19 reaches pandemic status

First arrests made at BC Legislature after Wet’suwet’en supporters spray chalk on property

Legislature security arrested two people, allegedly for mischief

Canada’s 13th coronavirus case confirmed as husband of 12th patient

More than 81,000 cases of COVID-19 have occurred since the virus emerged in China

Former Victoria Secret model skiing in Revelstoke

Australian model Miranda Kerr has been in the area for several days

Trainwreck Comedy to celebrate 10 years of laughs in Kelowna

The open-mic event will take place Mar. 10. at O’Flannigan’s Pub in Kelowna

CRAFT Beer Market to host Brewchella in Kelowna

The festival features local craft beer and bites

Brother and sister thrive with Silver Star ski program

Carter Classic supports kids like Adam and Amy, diagnosed with autism, hit the slopes

Galloway: Be kind

Columnist Jules Galloway is the founder/owner of Evolve Design| Build

Most Read