It's Showtime again for community orchestra


WHAT: Thompson Valley Community Orchestra presents Showtime!

WHEN: Saturday, 7 p.m.

WHERE: Calvary Community Church

ADMISSION: By donation

There's no music like show music, at least not from the standpoint of an orchestra tapping the depths of community talent.

Thompson Valley Community Orchestra rolls out the red carpet Saturday for guest artist Alan Corbishley, who sings the music of Stephen Sondheim as part of Showtime! This is the orchestra's second annual concert dedicated to the music of stage and screen.

"People love the show tunes and the Broadway tunes, some new, some old," said conductor Norris Berg.

The overture from Italian in Algiers, their opening number, certainly fits the latter category. It was a smash hit in 1813 for Italian composer Gioachino Rossini, just 21 at the time. Kamloops Symphony performed the spirited overture last fall as part of its Effervescence concert. In this case the piece gives a trio of young players - Erica Suh (flute), Stacey Grant (oboe) and Patrick Lam (clarinet) - a set of solos with which to shine.

Bugler's Holiday, though not a show tune, brings another trio to the fore. Trumpeters Anita Eccleston, John Frank and Jordan Amon perform this cheerful piece, one of the most popular by Leroy Anderson (1908-1975), American master of light classical music. The three players stand in front of the orchestra to perform the ironically titled work. It's no holiday - all three must play the same line in harmony, preceded by a fanfare begun by each in harmony - but rather a test of skill.

"It's a classic. It's been around a long time and it really brings out the virtuosity in trumpeters because they have to triple-tongue. It's a real showstopper."

Other show music on the program includes The Rose (from the 1979 film loosely based on Janis Joplin), An American in Paris Suite (from the 1951 film based on George Gershwin's 1928 tone poem) as well as selections from the Broadway hit Cats and Rodgers' and Hammerstein's score to Sound of Music.

There are few living composers more celebrated than Sondheim, whose awards include an Oscar, eight Tonys (more than any other composer), multiple Grammys and a Pulitzer Prize. The orchestra alone covers a medley from West Side Story, his 1957 Broadway debut (Leonard Bernstein wrote the music, Sondheim wrote the lyrics).

Highlighting the second half of the concert, Corbishley lends his baritone pipes to a trio of Sondheim songs - Good Thing Going from Merrily We Roll Along, Losing My Mind from Follies and Being Alive from Company. Tracey Clarke on electric bass and Heather Berg on piano back him up.

Corbishley has had a good thing going for Kamloops in recent seasons. Only five years ago he was performing on European operatic stages but opted to return home to Kamloops, where he has enlivened the city's cultural scene as artistic director of BC Living Arts and with a variety of guest performances for Western Canada Theatre, the KSO and the TVCO.

Recently, the artist won a prestigious Canada Council grant to develop a new theatrical production, Silent Chap, based on the life of Charlie Chaplin, which he's producing in association with WCT.

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