ESO Symphony Under the Sky
Here I am again at the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra performance, but this time it is outdoors at the Hawrelak Park Amphitheatre. Is a beautiful day, the sun is shining and the piano is currently being tuned.
1:20pm, the performance is to start at 2pm so we arrived early to get parking, which we secured no problem. We are on the grass in the “blanket” section in the shade. Is a bit cool, but pretty bearable.
1:55pm I have now obtained a Veggie dog from Fat Franks, couldn’t resist. There are lots of food choices and many people are indulging and enjoying a picnic in the park.
The performance was introduced shortly after 2pm, and two retiring members of the ESO were recognized for 30 and 35 years of service respectively – each having been with the symphony for over half of its 57 year span. We all stood and sang “O Canada” and “God Save the Queen”, which I surprisingly knew the words to. Guess all those years of singing it in elementary school burned it into my brain forever.
The conductor Robert Bernhardt explained that the first piece listed in the program will not be performed due to technical difficulties and that all the other pieces will be – but not in any order resembling the program. This is a much lighter version of the ESO that one sees at the Winspear or during the classics. There is a whimsical feel to it and many families are here with children that are possibly being exposed to the symphony for the first time. What a great introduction for them to this art form.
The first piece was a march that was very fun and had everyone clapping along immediately. The next two were a bit more unknown, one being described as obscure – but both enjoyable none the less.
Saint Bailey’s Rag started out with When the Saints Come Marching in and is a medley of sorts of seemingly southern ragtime music. Having been to New Orleans, I can relate to this music’s hip beat. The kids next to me were hopping in their seats and grooving along with it, balloons in hand.
Now on stage is the solo saxophonist P.J. Perry, who is a local Edmontontian. By researching his bio online I find that he won a juno award for best jazz recording in 1993. Here he goes . . .