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Posts Tagged ‘Benaroya Hall’

Sacred Christmas Sounds—SPU’s Concert at Benaroya Hall in Seattle

Posted by glennled on December 11, 2011

On 28 and 29 November, thousands of people started this Christmas season by attending the 12th annual concert at Benaroya Hall presented by Seattle Pacific University (SPU) called “The Sacred Sounds of Christmas.” The program divided into two parts: one, “The Promise Made” (Advent and Annunciation), and two, “The Promise Fulfilled” (Incarnation and Celebration).

The choir members processed down the aisles through the crowd to the stage, singing “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,” which always chokes me up: “O come, Desire of nations, bind in one the hearts of all mankind; bid thou our sad divisions cease, and be thyself our King of Peace.” And on from there went the splendid concert to start the blessings of the Christmas season, 2011. ‘Tis a joy to be a believer in these past 18 years after living the previous 34 years as an agnostic. In 1994, I gave up “If it is to be, it’s up to me,” for “Thy will be done.” It’s a Good Life!

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Washington All-State Band & Orchestra Concert at Benaroya Hall

Posted by glennled on February 21, 2011

Last night, the Washington All-State Band and All-State Orchestra played their annual concert, sponsored by the Washington Music Educators Association (WMEA), at Benaroya Hall in downtown Seattle. I was not there. I wanted to be there. Someday, I want to go see and hear one of my trumpet students play on the concert stage in the Washington All-State Band or All-State Orchestra.  Who will it be?

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Holiday Pops with Cirque De La Symphonie, Seattle Symphony

Posted by glennled on December 14, 2009

Yesterday, my wife and I returned to Benaroya Hall in Seattle with two close relatives to attend the annual Holiday Pops concert. This year the Seattle Symphony was accompanied by the Cirque De La Symphonie. Their seven artists performed incredible “circus” acts while the symphony played music by Leroy Anderson, Ralph Vaugh Williams, Tchaikovsky, Saint-Saens, Bizet, Schubert and others. Our unanimous favorite act was that by Alexander Streltsov, aerial artist, to “Ave Maria” by Franz Schubert, arranged by Carmen Dragon. It was a spectacular sight and lovely sound. The combination of Schubert’s music and Streltsov’s movements, poses, and soarings was a magnificient interpretation of what it must have meant to be Mary, mother of Jesus, Son of God. Our second favorite artist was Christine Van Loo, also an aerial artist, who performed twice. Her first act was accompanied by “Walking in the Air” from “The Snowman Suite,” by Howard Blake, arranged by Tony Osborne. Her second was performed to “Waltz of the Flowers” from “The Nutcracker” by Tchaikovsky. Both were superb.

For this performance, the brass section was composed of four trumpets, four French horns, three trombones, and one tuba–I counted. Boy, can they take over, with solid, powerful punch and depth, whenever the conductor wants them to!

I believe the classical orchestra is a signal achievement of western civilization and culture. Can you think of any other culture that has produced any comparable organization for the performance of its music? The variety of orchestral instruments is amazing in itself. And the variety and complexity of music which they can collectively produce as a group is unique–the range of expression of the western orchestra cannot be found anywhere else in the world. And the composers who write music for the orchestra–these are the highest artists on the musical totem pole, in my opinion.  The composers are the creators. They are the best of the best, and their best works last for centuries.

Yes, the orchestra is limited. Like anything else created by humans, it cannot do everything, cannot fulfill every need and desire. And all other cultures have produced unique, expressive music, some of it utterly fantastic. However, their groups, their musical organizations, their genres, also are limited–and I contend they are much more limited than the western orchestra in their variety of sounds and expression of human experience. Orchestral music demands the highest level of mastery from all its pieces and parts, from the composer to the conductor to the musicians to the instruments to the concert halls. As you know, I love bands–marching, concert, pep, dance, jazz, any kind of band. But to me, the western classical orchestra is king–I tip my hat in salute to the orchestra.

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