|Cellists Elliot Serena and Emily Prather headed up the cello section in a beautiful rendition of the "Swan" from the "Carnival of the Animals" during the Clear Lake Performing Arts Youth Orchestra on Sunday, June 10, 2012, at the Soper-Reese Community Theatre in Lakeport, Calif.|
LAKEPORT, Calif. – One of the north counties’ very best young peoples’ orchestras presented its first-ever, full theatrical musical event on Sunday, June 10, when the Clear Lake Performing Arts Youth Orchestra presented its annual concert at Lakeport’s Soper-Reese Community Theatre.
Some 200 music lovers turned out to salute the efforts of the 16 young musicians, and their backup colleagues and supporters.
Susan Condit, now completing her second year as music director and conductor of the orchestra, put together a fast-moving and complex program designed to show off the skills of her players, and her success can be measured by the applause ending each piece.
The program opened with the Appalachian sounds of "Cripple Creek" a traditional fiddle favorite, ending with the familiar "Shave and a Haircut" theme.
This was followed by a much more contemporary piece, "Mythos" by young Korean superstar Soon Hee Newbold that demonstrated the tight playing ability and rhythmic progressions of the strings.
Before the next number Condit took the microphone to explain that John Williams, perhaps Hollywood’s most noted current composer, was known for his complicated music, made particularly evident in his themes from "Harry’s Wondrous World" from the movie "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets."
As a result of hours of practice time and rehearsals, the orchestra flew through the piece with near-perfect execution.
"Pirates of the Caribbean – the Curse of the Black Pearl" a Disney film, provided the basis of yet another number with a medley of four musical themes from the movie.
On this piece eight members of the senior Lake County Symphony moved in to accompany the youth orchestra members. They were violinists Andi Skelton and Marta Fuller; Aaron Bielenberg and Eleanor Cook, viola; Clovice Lewis and Amanda Bronson, cellos; Austin Ison, bass; and Jeanine Mullen, flute.
These musicians had served as volunteer instructors for their protégées during many of the orchestra’s numerous rehearsals.
This was followed by perhaps the most interesting piece of the first half of the concert, entitled "Hit The Beach" written by Dean Sorenson.
Based on the music of Brazil, it featured complicated rhythms carried by Assistant Director Eleanor Cook on claves, and past Lower Lake High School graduate Kristin Currier on the Conga drums, and demonstrated conclusively just how fast and far the young musicians of Lake County have progressed in recent years.
Following intermission, Conductor Condit took the opportunity to introduce each of her charges, along with a description of their musical and academic accomplishments, especially impressive in view of the fact that so many school elective programs, including music, have been eliminated or reduced because of budget cuts.
At the conclusion of her introductions Condit stated how proud she was of what her orchestra members had accomplished, and thanked the community members and institutions whose support, both moral and monetary, helped to keep her programs going.
Both she and Tamsen Serena, coordinator of the Youth Orchestra, gave special thanks to the staff and management of the Soper-Reese Theatre, which provided the venue without cost.
The second half of the program featured an ambitious presentation of Camille Saint-Saens ever-popular "Carnival of the Animals" a light-hearted and familiar musical essay on many of the world’s animals, including even fishes and – in a demonstration of the composer’s sense of humor – fossils.
Saint-Saens created his masterpiece as a little something fun for his friends, never intending it to be heard by the public, but it turned out to be the most popular piece in his repertoire, with the animals represented not only by the illustrative music, but also by sections and individual instruments of the orchestra.
In order to maximize the impact, Condit invited two graduating seniors from Lower Lake High School, Kaylee Smith and Rebecca Sires, to accompany the musicians in interpretive dances, also representing the animals.
Just to make sure the audience was aboard Doug Rhoades provided rhyming narration – with clever lines written by Jack Prelutsky – and a slide show assembled by Wally Fuller.
Following the overture, both girls danced the opening number "The Royal March of the Lions" with Kaylee portraying the nimble lioness and Rebecca taking the part of the majestic lion.
|Clayton Rudiger and Aaron Bielenberg display their Allegro scholarship awards received during the Clear Lake Performing Arts Youth Orchestra concert on Sunday, June 10, 2012, from Allegro Director Tom Ganoung (center). Courtesy photo.|
Blonde, pony-tailed Kaylee followed up dancing as a "Personage with Long Ears" – a donkey, accompanied by braying sounds from the violin section, and then again she introduced her dance tightly huddled on the floor, to the opening strains of Saint-Saens "Turtles."
Rebecca then returned for a difficult rendition of "Elephants" following the beat of Max Lehman on a bass solo representing the massive beasts walking through the forest.
Since she was slim and graceful, Rebecca was nothing at all like the animal she portrayed, but came close enough in her portrayal to give the audience a sense of what it might be like to walk with an elephant family, as shown on Fuller’s screen
From elephant to a feisty rooster was her next transformation, after which Kaylee returned – this time sporting pink ears – to dance the part of a kangaroo. Rebecca was up next, representing a dancing fish in "The Aquarium" number, and finally as a fossil, as shown by a partial skeleton emblazoned on her black tee shirt.
Kaylee Smith wrapped up the dance program with her interpretation of "The Swan" this time in traditional ballerina garb including a white tutu, and toe shoes.
The popularity of the program can be shown by the three-minute standing applause that greeted the musicians, performers and conductor as they took their bows.
Although there was no admission fee a donation box in the lobby produced donations of nearly $550, far more than any such youth program has generated in the past.
These will go toward the Clear Lake Performing Arts Youth Education Fund which supports music activities open to students throughout Lake County.
Local residents wishing to support these programs may find details at www.ClearLakePerformingArts.com or by contacting CLPA President Ed Bublitz at 277-8172.
The next CLPA event will be presentation of the tenth annual Lake County Home Wine Makers Festival on Saturday, June 23, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Library Park in Lakeport, where attendees can taste some of our area’s best wines from both amateur and professional wine makers.
Admission is free, but those wishing to taste wines may obtain tickets at the gate for $25, to include a commemorative wine glass, or advance purchase tickets for $20 at the Lake County Chamber, the Band Box music store or Watershed Books in Lakeport, or at the tasting rooms of the following wineries: Vigilance, Thorn Hill, Shannon Ridge, Wildhurst, Steele, Rosa d Oro, Moore Family or Bell Hill.