The Sierra Vista Symphony Orchestra played its final concert of the season at the Buena Arts Center in Sierra Vista, Arizona on March 13, 2010. The concert was made up almost entirely of classical music that has been used in cartoons over the years. The orchestra had tried to get permission to show clips from these cartoons to accompany the music, but Warner Brothers would not grant the rights. Instead, the audience was treated to live entertainment. Minnie Mouse and some other characters came to the concert and seemed to approve of the performance.
The first half included von Suppe’s Light Cavalry Overture, Rossini’s Overture to The Barber of Seville. This was followed by Figaro’s famous aria, Largo Factotum, performed delightfully by Renaldo Romo, who has joined the SVSO in the past as singer and narrator. Verdi’s popular Anvil Chorus from Il Trovatore was performed twice, first in an orchestral arrangement, and then in a big band arrangement my Bill Holcolme. For the second version, the orchestra was joined by a quintet of saxophones to swing along. Keitaro Harada and Russ Robinson played alto sax, Marc Rosen and Patty Mackey-Sink played tenor, and Brad Clark played baritone.
The half ended with Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries from Die Walkure.
The second half of the concert included guest conductor Keitaro Harada conducting Mendelssohn’s Hebrides Overture Johann Strauss Jr.’s waltz Tales From the Vienna Woods. Harada, at 24, has already conducted in Russia, Mexico, and Canada, and locally has conducted the Arizona Symphony Orchestra and the Arizona Opera Orchestra. He conducted with intensity and bravura, and was rewarded with a standing ovation.
Roger Bayes returned to the podium for Rossini’s Overture to William Tell. This begins with a beautiful section for five cellos, led by first chair soloist Robert Hutson. The final piece on the program was Liszt’s second Hungarian Rhapsody. The audience was enthusiastic as both conductors and the orchestra received a standing ovation. An encore was called for, and was the popular ending of William Tell, during which Maestro Bayes ceded the podium partway through. The audience was clapping in rhythm to the music. In all, a strong ending to the season.
In honor of Women’s History Month, I would like to draw attention to Catherine Ruttan, Crystal Seiger, and Kendra McLean, who respectively are the orchestra’s principal trumpet, principal horn, and principal percussionist. Other women also lead sections, including concertmaster Debbie Dinkel, but these are instruments previously considered masculine. Brava, ladies.
This season itself is a triumph for the city of Sierra Vista. A year ago, the orchestra members (and Maestro Bayes) were contributing some or all of their pay to keep the orchestra going, and no one was sure this season would happen. Though this has been a shorter season, with three concerts instead of four, it was successful, and the orchestra has been solvent. The members of the community have managed to support the orchestra despite the economy. Bravo, Sierra Vista!