PT Symphony Orchestra back in action with December concert featuring Chimacum High soloist

Posted 12/31/69

After their return from a long, COVID-induced hiatus, the Port Townsend Symphony Orchestra will perform their second concert of 2021 this Saturday.

The group first came back to the stage in …

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PT Symphony Orchestra back in action with December concert featuring Chimacum High soloist

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After their return from a long, COVID-induced hiatus, the Port Townsend Symphony Orchestra will perform their second concert of 2021 this Saturday.

The group first came back to the stage in October after 20 months away, but this concert marks a return to the symphony orchestra’s regular concert venue at Chimacum High School.

“It’s great to be back in our regular space,” said Tigran Arakelyan, the group’s conductor. Arakelyan is excited to return to the concert setting that “the orchestra is used to.”

The performance will feature saxophonist Maria Powell, a junior at Chimacum High, who will perform a solo in one of the symphony orchestra’s pieces. The talented young performer has played the saxophone since fifth grade, earning multiple honors such as the Junior Stars of Tomorrow Champion award, first place in the Jefferson County Young Artist Competition, and performing with various accredited ensembles and orchestras around the region.

Additionally, Powell is the Chimacum drum major for the newly combined East Jefferson High School Band.

“Maria is a super talented player,” Arakelyan said. “Even as a younger artist, she is really able to listen to the orchestra. She’s really aware of what is happening.”

The promising tenor saxophonist participated and finished first in the PT Symphony Orchestra Young Artist competition, where Arakelyan observed her talent and offered her a solo in the symphony orchestra’s next concert.

Although the saxophone is mainly associated with jazz in the United States, the conductor reiterated the instrument’s significance in the classical sphere.

“The saxophone in Europe has a long tradition as classical instrument,” he noted.

The Dec. 4 concert will have four enticing selections for listeners to enjoy and get into the holiday spirit. “Brook Green Suite” by Gustav Holst, “Fantasia for Saxophone and Orchestra” by Heitor Villa-Lobos, “Serenade for Strings” by Mieczyslaw Karlowicz, and a surprise percussion number will line the concert’s program.

With the Holst contribution, attendees will experience an interesting piece with youthful energy and time signature and key signature changes to keep them on their toes, Arakelyan said.

The Fantasia selection, featuring Powell as a soloist, is a fan favorite that will surely bring a whimsical energy, carried by Powell’s tenor saxophone solo throughout.

“Serenade for Strings” is a lesser known tune influenced by the iconic Pyotr Tchaikovsky, and composed by Karlowicz at the age of 21. 

“There’s so many things in the piece; it’s way beyond his years,” Arakelyan said, praising Karlowicz for creating such a mature composition at a young age.

As for the final holiday-themed percussion piece, Arakelyan has remained tight-lipped about it but promises an entertaining and merry performance to cap off the concert and send listeners away feeling holly and jolly.

The concert will kick off at Chimacum High’s auditorium at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4, and seating is limited to 150 people.

To reserve seats, email contact@PTSymphony.org and give your name and number of people in your party. Reservation conformations will be sent via email.

For more information about the Port Townsend Symphony Orchestra, visit ptsymphony.org.

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