In keeping with the tradition of the New Year’s Day concert on which it is based, there will be two guest conductors during Kamloops Symphony Orchestra’s annual Magic in Vienna concert next week.
KSO general manager Kathy Humphreys said one of the silent auction items offered during last month’s Music in the Round fundraiser was an opportunity to conduct the final piece of the concert.
The winners were Christopher Seguin, vice-president (advancement) at Thompson Rivers University, and James Watson, a KSO music student.
“Because there are two concerts, we ended up selling two opportunities to conduct,” she said.
Saturday night’s audience will witness Seguin’s conducting skills while the Sunday afternoon crowd gets to enjoy Watson’s musical talents.
“It’s a lot of fun,” said Humphreys, adding Seguin and Watson also get conducting lessons with KSO music director Bruce Dunn as part of the deal.
Watson is also the concertmaster for the KSO music school’s string orchestra.
The Vienna Philharmonic’s New Year’s Day concerts traditionally feature a unique programme every year under the guidance of a different conductor. Humphreys said having Seguin and Watson take the lead for a song or two keeps with that tradition.
There will be no soloist this year, which is a break from the tradition of the last few Music of Vienna concerts. Humphreys said that’s because the programme mirrors the 2010 performance in Vienna, which also was without a soloist.
“We often have (a soloist) but not all the time. This is waltzes, polkas, the popular dance music of the day,” she said.
The music is by the Waltz King himself — Johann Strauss Jr. — and his mid-nineteenth century contemporaries. The songs have maintained popularity for more than 200 years.
The programme also includes Strauss Jr. mainstays, such as In Krapfenwald, Stormy in Love and Dance, and Champagne Polka.
The audience will be treated to the polka mazur A Woman’s Heart, by Josef Strauss, Hans Christian Lumbye’s Copenhagen Steam Train Galop and Otto Nicolai’s overture, The Merry Wives of Windsor, among others.
Strauss Jr. ends the programme with his quick polka Off to the Hunt, which is based on themes from his opera Cagiosto in Vienna and his waltz The Blue Danube.
Humphreys said the women of the orchestra abandon their traditional black concert dress in favour of colourful ball gowns in keeping with the theme of a New Year’s Eve celebration.
“It’s supposed to be a toast to the new year, although a few weeks after the fact,” she said of the concert.
The Vienna concerts started as a New Year’s Eve performance on Dec. 31, 1939 and have continued as a New Year’s Day tradition since Jan. 1, 1941. The performances are televised around the world.
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WHAT: Kamloops Symphony Orchestra presents The Magic of Vienna
WHEN and WHERE: Friday, Jan. 11, 7:30 p.m. at Salmon Arm Recreation Centre, Saturday, Jan. 12, 7:30 p.m. at Sagebrush Theatres and Sunday. Jan. 13, 2 p.m. Sagebrush Theatre
TICKETS: Kamloops Live! Box Office, www.kamloopslive.com