PTHS grad delights as orchestra guest

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Audiences received more than what they were promised when renowned violist Matthew Daline, a former Port Townsend High School student, presented an encore on Oct. 28 with his solo work of “Suite Hebraique for Viola and Orchestra.” 

Tigran Arakelyan, conductor for this season’s Port Townsend Community Orchestra, introduced Daline and talked about how he was a member of the first community orchestra when he was just in high school. Since he left, Daline has become a master violin and viola player, an instructor, and he's traveled around the world to recruit and perform while he's been a professor at Bowling Green State University. 

“I was thinking about my teachers when I was young and how they inspired me to get to where I am,” Arakelyan said.

Arakelyan also recognized second violinist, Pat Yearian, who was Daline’s teacher. Yearian stood up from her position in the orchestra for a round of applause. 

“I know I wouldn’t be where I am without my teachers when I was starting in high school," Arakelyan. "They inspire us, lead us and motivate us to pursue us to music. Sometimes it’s a great story like Matthew’s, who went out to have a great career, and sometimes it’s a story of a great leader in another field, or attached to the arts follower or advocate.”

Before he invited Daline to the stage for his solo performance, Arakelyan thanked the teachers in the orchestra and in the audience for their work with their pupils. He also led the audience in a moment of silence to recognize the victims of the Tree of Life synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh before he launched into the rest of the program. 

Daline’s appearance and mentorship with students and the orchestra was for the first concert of the season at the Chimacum High School auditorium. From the front row to the back, chairs were filled with community members who sought classical sounds on a Sunday afternoon. 

The concert began with “Fanfare from ‘La Peri,’” which featured the booming brass section, including the second, “Slovanic Dance No. 2, Op. 72.” Arakelyan said the context behind the number, which was composer Antonin Dvorak’s first composition, was one of eight sets of sounds. 

“It was such a big success that the publishers said, ‘Why don’t you take those piano dances and actually orchestrate them,'” said Arakelyan, who added that Dvorak had a difficult time conjuring up dances so he composed them based on 21 Hungarian dances and used folk melodies and characteristics within his own work. 

Daline performed Alan Hovhaness’ “Chahgir,” which translates to “The Torch” and originates from Romanian folk melodies, Daline said. After the intermission, the orchestra performed “Hungarian Dances Nos. 1, 2 and 10,” and “Three Dances from Gayane Ballet.”

Daline complimented the collaboration and communication throughout the orchestra, adding he was surprised with the turnout for the first concert of the season. 

“When you have such a full house like this and see these warm faces, you want to do your best,” he said.

The Port Townsend Community Orchestra has four more concerts through May 2019. The next one is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Dec. 1, with an “Around the World” theme. 

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