Sunday, April 5, 2009

Our ESO - Our Treasure

While sitting, deeply immersed in the high-spirited sounds coming from the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, I reflected on what this valuable entity means to me. The free concert held on the 3rd of April, to introduce the upcoming season was just one of the many highlights of my long years enjoying the orchestra. I was taken back - waaay back to the early days of the orchestra, in the 80s, when I was official photographer for the orchestra. I remembered the high-profile artist musicians that graced the stage; people like Anton Kuerti and the late and incomparable Arthur Fiedler. I laughed when I thought about Fiedler's sharp tongue as he whipped the orchestra into shape. I thought they were excellent but I guess Fiedler found enough in their playing that they had to be literally "tuned up". After all, what did I know? I was the photographer on hand. As the one Senator Tommy Banks told me once "there's nothing I hate more than an accordion player with true pitch" - said while I was engineering a recording session by his group. I cherish those events. My, how far the ESO has come since those early days.
Every time I get the chance to attend an ESO concert, I think of what I would actually write should I want to "send a note to the editor". The free concert the other day is one of those. Not to forget the Space-themed concert featuring George Takei, a well crafted and performed jewel of a show. There is no doubt that the ESO's series will provide exciting entertainment for everyone - every member of the family. That was very evident in the faces of people in all age brackets. The many young kids sitting near me were mesmerized by the many facets of the orchestra, too numerous to mention. And, I don't want to leave out the fact that this was the first performance conducted by Bill Eddens. What a great personality to guide the orchestra.
This is not a stuffy genre as many are finally realizing. Only the high-classics performances will probably garner a more formal black tied orchestra. Audiences can feel totally comfortable in casual dress attending the concerts. Mind you, it is nice to be decked out in more formal or semi-formal attire occasionally in our fabulous Winspear Centre.
I will write more on the many feelings that are inspired by the ESO. You'll certainly hear more about the many professional elements of the world of music performances available to us in Edmonton. I am quite proud that I have been immersed in that world.

Oh yes, I can't leave without complimenting a particular violinist on his socks - I love vibrant mauve.

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