Audience picks classic favourites at symphony concert

NANAIMO – Calvin Dyck performs world premiere of Canadian composer Emily Doolittle’s new work.

Concertmaster Calvin Dyck will perform a new piece by a Canadian composer at the Vancouver Island Symphony's concert on Saturday (April 5) at the Port Theatre.

Concertmaster Calvin Dyck will perform a new piece by a Canadian composer at the Vancouver Island Symphony's concert on Saturday (April 5) at the Port Theatre.

By Rosemary Phillips

The Vancouver Island Symphony comes home on Saturday (April 5), 7:30 p.m., after its musical journey around the world when it presents the last of this season’s Timeless Treasures Series in a unique concert titled Nanaimo – Home.

“This city did not exist when the bulk of classical music was written,” said Pierre Simard.

So how will Simard, the symphony’s artistic director, present a concert filled with music that represents Nanaimo?

“I am sending the ball back into the audience, to make it Nanaimo’s choice. It’s essentially a one-of-a-kind show – rather like a symphonic jukebox,” Simard said. “The orchestra will rehearse the most recognizable tunes in the light classical repertoire, then throughout the evening the audience will choose. I will be doing this in various ways – but I don’t want to reveal too much.

“The music is from all the periods – baroque, classical, romantic, Mozart, and situation music like Pomp and Circumstance.”

Before going out to the audience, Simard will warm up the orchestra with the invigorating Toreador. From then on, the audience picks from Air on the G string, Hungarian Dance No. 5, Morning Mood from Peer Gynt, overtures to the Marriage of Figaro, William Tell and Light Cavalry, Can-Can, Pachelbel’s Canon, Blue Danube Waltz, and selections from Swan Lake and La Traviata.

“The musicians are so familiar with these pieces,” Simard said.

To further honour Nanaimo, the symphony has commissioned a violin concerto by young Canadian composer Emily Doolittle especially for this evening.

“To have violinist Calvin Dyck perform Emily’s new composition, Sapling, alongside great classical tunes is a perfect way to celebrate Nanaimo and Home,” Simard said.

And how better to describe spring in Nanaimo than with musical movements titled Branching, Bending and Leafy Green?

“Each of the movements has their own character, and yet all flowing together,” Dyck said. “Branching is energetic, very Stravinsky-esk, twiggy. Bending is much more lyrical, gentle waves of softness, like feeling the movement of the air. And Leafy Green is up-beat, cheerful and almost bouncy, happy and light; spring-like in several meanings of the word.”

Tickets are available at 250-754-8550 or

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