The local movie theatre is packed, but there is no movie playing this afternoon. Today we have come for a very different kind of show, for a concert not typical in a venue like this.
The violins and cellos are being tuned, musicians are warming up, the eager crowd is trying to find seats. The stage is simply and tastefully decorated with a garland of tiny white and blue twinkle lights. The house lights go down, the stage lights come up, The Northern Orchestra is about to begin playing Corelli’s Concerto No.8, Notte di Natale.
What was I expecting of an orchestra in a town of 4,500 people? To be honest, I wasn’t expecting this! Over the next two hours, Conductor Gordon Lucas and the amateur musicians and choir he directs will take us on a musical holiday journey through Corelli, Bach and a beautifully done rendition of Vivaldi’s ‘Gloria’. All so wonderfully done. And occasionally you will hear the less experienced musicians rise above the more prominent first chairs and soloists (who are just amazing, I must add!) But that’s part of the charm, because everyone is welcome here. Everyone is honing their skills, or sharing their experience and proficiency, and it’s so wonderfully inclusive that I feel a bit verklempt just talking about it.
No, it’s not the VSO. It’s even better, because I recognize the faces of people I’ve met in the community recently, the names of people I remember from college and the children of people I went to high school with. And here they all are, pouring their hearts into this one standing-room-only performance in our little single-screen movie theatre. There are even home-made Christmas treats available in the lobby during intermission. And this, all this, for the very affordable price of just $10 ($7.50 for seniors).
And at the end of it all, we come home with full hearts, to our (finally!) decorated house and pour a glass of wine, throw a meatloaf in the oven, and offer up thanks for this amazingly different and wonderful Christmas….Vanderhoof style. And it’s not over yet!
Photo credits: Orchestra & Principle Violin, Karyn Schlamp – Randy Forgo
Photo credit: Concert Master, Kevin Teichroeb – Elise Forgo