Penticton Community Concert Patrons enjoyed a double treat last Wednesday Night at Cleland Theatre: ballet and chamber music.
The concert featured young local artists who had excelled at the Kiwanis Festival and who will compete at the provincial festival which is taking place in Penticton this year.
Dancers from Okanagan Dance Studios took the stage for the first half of the program. There were three group dances with choreography by Traci Stevenson Bourne. The dances had classical and contemporary elements and were performed on pointe, demipointe and barefoot. The costumes looked exquisite on the dancer’s young athletic bodies.
In between the group selections seven solo dancers charmed the audience with dazzling acrobatics, effortless jumps and graceful poses. There was a wide range of music from classical to techno.
In contrast to the turbulence of the lively dancers the second half of the evening was serene. Ben Stuchberry, a promising and versatile guitarist, performed a renaissance piece Se io m’accorgo, J.S.Bach’s Prelude, Fugue and Allegro BWV 998, and variations on the haunting Japanese folk-melody Sakura by Yuquijiro Yocoh.
Soprano Saige Carlson was not able to perform and there were some last minute changes to the program. To fill in Craig Denton and Ben Stuchberry joined classical guitarist Jonathan Stuchberry with viola and flute on very short notice. All three are members of the Okanagan Youth Symphony and seasoned performers. In Three Pieces for Viola and Guitar by Schickerle the instruments complemented each other very well.
Erwin Schaller’s Five Scottish Folk Songs made a cheerful ending for the concert. The vibrant sound of Ben Stuchberry’s flute added warmth and brightness to the music of the stringed instruments. Schaller’s transparent arrangements made it easy to follow the lovely melodies and savour the sweet harmonies.
It made me proud to see how well our young artists are doing. Best wishes to them for the provincials and for their future in general.
Roswitha Masson is a concert reviewer for Penticton Community Concerts series.