Sooke Orchestra will soothe you with a Harmony by the Sea

The martime-themed Sea Cantata takes place June 10 and 11 in Sooke and Colwood

Harmony by the Sea poster (Contributed)

The Sooke Philharmonic Orchestra ends its 2016 to 2017 season with an entertaining three-part musical program, Harmony by the Sea, June 10 and 11.

The highlight of the program is the choral work – Sea Cantata – by Orchestra choral director Nicholas Fairbank. This maritime-themed selection is appropriate for Sookeaudiences to mark Canada’s 150th birthday.

“I wanted to write something that would challenge our singers but is equally enjoyable to sing as it is to listen to,” Fairbank said, adding there are seven movements, most independent in style and character, ranging from energetically dramatic to quietly somber and from rousing sea shanties to mermaid siren songs.

Texts are drawn from several sources, including Robert Service and Lucy Maud Montgomery; all have to do with ships, the oceans and the people who live by them.

In creating Sea Cantata, Fairbank drew on his own love of the sea and a lifetime of sailing experiences. He is well-known to Victoria area audiences as an organist, harpsichordist and conductor and is faculty member at the Victoria Conservatory of Music. Sea Cantata was last performed in the Victoria area in 2011.

The Adagio piece, known also as the Adagio of Spartacus and Phrygia, is taken from the score of Aram Khachaturian’s ballet Spartacus, written in 1954. This nine-minute movement is one of the ballet’s most famous numbers and includes sweeping strings and romantic themes.

Finally, as only Rachmaninoff can deliver, the program includes his powerful and popular Piano Concerto No. 2, Op. 18 in c minor. Guest soloist pianist Ya-Ping Huang is a fourth-year piano student at the Victory Conservatory of Music and studies under May-Ling Kwok.

Harmony by the Sea takes place Saturday (June 10) at 7:30 p.m. at the Sooke Community Hall (2037 Shields Road) and on Sunday (June 11) 7:30 p.m. at the Teechamitsa Theatre at Royal Bay Secondary School (3500 Ryder Hesjedal Way, Colwood).

Ticket available at: sookephil.ca or 250-419-3569. For more information please contact Eleanor Kulin 778-265-9498, ekulincol@gmail.com.

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