Arts council hosting classical orchestra in Saint Andrews

(Submitted photo) Performers at the St. Andrews Arts Council’s 2016 Symphony by the Sea gala concert.

SAINT ANDREWS – The winner of an aria competition three years ago will finally have a chance to perform at Symphony by the Sea.

Marcel d’Entrement won the St. Andrews Arts Council’s aria competition in 2020. Part of the prize is to perform at the council’s Symphony by the Sea gala concert. Due to COVID, d’Entrement hasn’t gotten that opportunity until the 36th annual event set for Aug. 19. New Brunswick soprano Measha Brueggergosman won the first aria competition.

Professional musicians from across the province form the orchestra for the annual event. Because of this, they practice on their own or in local groups. Conductor Hok Kwan travels the province to work with small groups, and the orchestra comes together a week prior to rehearse. A final rehearsal happens a day or two before the event.

Performers also include young musicians and students who get the chance to be part of a professional concert.

“They are orchestra apprentices and they’re recommended by their teachers,” said council president Jackie Guthrie.

The president said the conductor listens to the students to ensure they meet the necessary level of competence and can attend necessary rehearsals and the concert itself.

Guthrie said some of the students are quite young, citing an instructor with Sistema who has students aged 13 to 16.

“He has them playing parts of the orchestra pieces that they could handle.”

The gala’s objective is to give musicians, professional or student, a place to play.

“That’s what hooks the kids into keeping on with playing,” said Guthrie.

Guthrie said they host the event in Saint Andrews to help people access symphony music they might not have otherwise.

“We wanted to bring this to this beautiful area of Charlotte County,” she said, adding it also gives school-age children a chance to experience music they may not get in schools due to lack of music education.

The concert takes place at 7:30 p.m. at the New Brunswick Community College campus. Tickets are $20 at the door for adults and children are free. Email for more information.

Robert Fisher

Fisher is a writer/author, photographer and filmmaker. Itinerant observer of life. His dog, Lincoln, is a travel companion and has been coast-to-coast with him four times.