Suzanne Buchholz, Reporter
The Northwest Sinfonietta Orchestra is involved in a few events at Pierce College Puyallup in preparation for its performance at the Pioneer Park Pavilion March 13, including a pre-concert talk held Feb. 29 and open rehearsal March 8.
The Northwest Sinfonietta, a chamber orchestra comprised of musicians from the Puget Sound, performs concerts regularly in Seattle, Tacoma and Puyallup. Members have received numerous accolades and have been dubbed “Washington state’s international cultural ambassador” by former Gov. Christine Gregoire for being the third American orchestra to perform in Cuba since the 1959 revolution, according to its website.
Northwest Sinfonietta originally became involved with Pierce when it performed a concert at the college, considering it as a venue before the Pioneer Park Pavilion. Chair of Music, Art and Philosophy at Puyallup Kenneth Owen started working with this group after this performance.
“I got to know them when they came to perform here and I helped them connect with the college,” Owen said. “After that, they asked me to do some pre-concert lectures. The next year, they had me do all their pre-concert lectures and write their program notes.”
Northwest Sinfonietta’s concert, Mass in Times of War, will feature music by Haydn and Mendelssohn, as well as a piece known as Musica Celestis by composer Jay Kernis. The piece by Haydn is a Mass that’s also for choir, which will be accompanied by the Seattle Choral Company. This selection was chosen by an artistic advisory board comprising members of the orchestra and community in connection with the orchestra’s directors, which Owen also serves on.
Before the concert, Owen gave a pre-concert presentation discussing the content of the concert. The presentation was in the Arts and Allied Health Building theater.
“The pre-concert talk uses a PowerPoint with a lot of images and information that helps people see a little context for where the music came from, and a little about the composers,” Owen said. “I also play some short excerpts from the music and try to point out some things for them to listen for.”
The orchestra will rehearse at Pierce on March 8 in the AAH theater. Musicians will be practicing a selection of the songs they’ll perform during their concert. Although the Seattle Choral Company will perform alongside the orchestra during the concert, they won’t be present for the rehearsal.
The rehearsal will be open for students to attend, as part of the orchestra’s educational outreach to introduce music students to working in the professional music industry. Students who aren’t training for a career in music but who are interested in seeing the performance are encouraged to come as well, Owen said.
“It’s also a great chance for general students to get a taste for a professional orchestra as they rehearse, and see the kind of exacting work they do,” Owen said. “They also give us quite a few free tickets to give to music students so they can go see the actual performance.”
Owen’s desire for these events is to enrich students culturally in terms of music, and that students with an interest in music come to the events and enjoy what they hear.
“I hope the students gain an insight into the fine art of music at a world class level,” Owen said.
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