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Mike Cochrane writes…

With Handel’s Water Music as an opening, our concert could have been titled From Warming To Winter.  On July 17th, 1717 the Water Music premiered aboard a barge on the River Thames. The musicians’ barge trailed the King’s barge, riding a vigorous flood tide from Whitehall Palace to Chelsea.  There the King disembarked upon an “errand” and the musicians and Handel, no doubt, relocated to a local to await the completion of the errand. The King’s return journey, now upon the ebb, commenced around 11.00 pm, accompanied by an encore Water Music performance. Handel might well have composed an additional movement for the Water Music return cruise, “At The Pub Awaiting “, possibly another hornpipe…!  The need for large numbers of players for a performance to be heard over water accentuates the marvelous vigour and robustness of everything Handel.  Our selection of movements from the Water Music Suite #1 shows off the robust playing of our horn players, the fine playing of our woodwinds and the vigorous playing of the strings.

Bach’s Air from the Orchestral Suite #3 in D continues our warming to winter theme. The familiar tranquil melody floats above a gentle ground base. Leaping and diving octaves below the serene melody seem full of repose. You could drown in this lovely Air, but it’s a sunny afternoon in late summer with a mild breeze… punting… punting on the mirror that is the River Cam.



George Phillipe Telemann, a contemporary of Bach and Handel, was equally prolific in producing both sacred and secular music, and was in fact the wealthiest and most famous composer of the day. Although he lived entirely in Germany there’s something Italianate in his music. Being self-taught and studying Corelli may explain the texture, structure and style of much of his string music.

Rae Gallimore at the Concerto Competition

Rae Gallimore at the Concerto Competition

Here’s what Rae Gallimore , our viola soloist, has to say about the Viola Concerto in G.

The Telemann Concerto was actually the first piece I learned on the Viola. I was disappointed with the technical aspect because at that time I was also learning the Khatchaturian Violin Concerto and I seemed to judge pieces by their virtuosity. However with the Telemann I learned the importance of colour and commenced my journey on how to create a great bowed articulation. I love this concerto not only from the wonderful character Telemann shares but because of the musical journey I have travelled.  Two years ago I took my first bow strokes on the viola and now I am blessed with this wonderful music..!

Nancy Washeim

Nancy Washeim


Our vocal performers take centre stage for the remainder of our Warming with the mellow Cantilena Pro Adventu by Haydn first up.  To Haydn a Cantilena is much like a Da Capo Aria, or repeated verses just like a Hymn. This Cantilena is a song of praise of the Virgin during Advent. Structured in Haydn’s simple “folk” style, perhaps intended for a countryside church, the work is pastoral, celebratory and yet a delicate accompaniment to the soprano soloist. We are blessed with Nancy Washeim’s soprano: her peerless intonation sparkles with the purity of white cut diamond. Vocal brilliance finely accompanied by strings, horns, bassoons and organ… a mood of gentle exaltation ensues.

Three Carols for SATB, Strings and Winds, by John Rutter, creates a lullaby sandwich with a clippety-clop filling…! The Nativity Carol sets your imagination soaring to the heavens of a Gothic Cathedral, the choir, as if choirboys, effortlessly reaching flawless high ‘A’s “.  Candles in the choir… a gloriously pure traditional carol. And then the Donkey Carol … clippety-clop. A cheerfully lopsided gait over the bumpy road, carrying Mary to Bethlehem. This of course had to be in 5/8 time… the “Gina Lollabridgida” time signature. Take out the “Gina” and Lollabridgida becomes 12, 123… or BridgidaLolla becomes 123,12.   (Thanks to Norman Nelson for this insight!)  Oh! and give a carrot when the journey’s done.

What sweeter music can we bring

Than a carol for to sing

The birth of this our heavenly King

A-Wake a voice. A-Wake a string.


Words by Robert Herrick (1591-1674), music by John Rutter (1945-  ) in G flat Major — that soft rich purple key. Resplendent music enhancing a beautiful poem.

And give the honour to this day

That sees December turned to May

Why does the chilling winter morn

Smile, like a field beset with corn

Or smell like a meadow newly shorn.


Wade Noble’s hale and hearty baritone, perfectly suited to the choral works of Handel, is no less fitting for the Fantasia of Carols.   First performed in Hereford Cathedral in 1912, it presents four English carols. Vaughan Williams scores this for full orchestra, solo baritone and chorus.  After a fine cello solo the baritone intones and gradually more instruments and voices fill out The Truth Sent from Above .The work overflows with a lustrous smooth cantabile, familiar Vaughan Williams to our ear. A joyful tempo announces, “Come All You Worthy Gentleman” with a somewhat non-Handelian robustness as we drive through to the conclusion. A lovely a capella, “Both Now and Evermore… Amen” and an impressive conclusion to our winter celebration.

Oh and keep an eye out for donkeys on the way home… !


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6.5” Poinsettia White, Pink or Red, $12

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                                                       10″ Poinsettia, $30

22” Wreath, Red Berries and Bows $25


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 10”  Holiday Tropical Planter,  $30   

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These poinsettias, wreaths and planters are top quality and are from the well-known Devry Nursery on the mainland. They are delivered to the island fresh and beautiful. Not only will you be able to start your holiday decorating early, but this fundraiser will benefit the Sooke Philharmonic Orchestra.

Please contact Margaret Lintern at mlintern@shaw.ca 250-642-6747 or Kathryn Mainguy at kathray1@gmail.com with your order.

Holiday Greenery Planter,  $40

Unfortunately we are unable to take payment online, but we can make arrangements for payment by cash or a cheque made payable to the Sooke Philharmonic Society.

To ensure that you get the plants you want, we require your order and payment by November 13.

Your plants can be picked up on Friday November 28 at the home of Margaret Lintern, 5681 Wisterwood Road East, Saseenos side of Sooke.

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Off we start with the “Lord of the Rings” Symphonic Suite, with high school string players from SD #61 and #62 in our midst. Young string players who probably know more about the likes of Melker, Gandalf and the Witch-King of Angmar, than most of the rest of us. A fitting commencement to a musical evening of Dark Lords, Wizards, Witches, Kings, Queens and Emperors… particularly Emperors.

Our soloist, Masahiro Miyauchi at the Concerto Competition. photo: Michael Nyikes

Our soloist, Masahiro Miyauchi at the Concerto Competition.
photo: Michael Nyikes

Masahiro Miyauchi…[aka “Mitchy” at Vic High School ], has been known, since childhood for hours of piano playing and building castles… Lego castles that is. Castles fit for an Emperor. When the piano lid lifts skyward, there will be Mitchy to perform Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No.5 in E Flat, the “Emperor”.
Named the” Emperor” by an officer in Buonaparte’s army besieging Vienna in May 1809, Beethoven, after fleeing cannon balls, completed his Piano Concerto at his brother’s place, also in Vienna. Dodging cannon balls was probably one reason why Beethoven wasn’t too keen to honor Napoleon with a Piano Concerto.
Imperial, magnificent and splendiferous are not inappropriate descriptions of this concerto and Masahiro, considering his age, justifies this description through his rendering.

The Man
“Now he will become a tyrant like all the others”, raged Beethoven in 1804, as he ripped off the title page from the score of Symphony No. 3 in E flat Major. Now here’s a Symphony breaking new ground… expressive; gigantic in scale; profound… heroic by original intent with the hero disregarded. By 1806 for the first public performance the title page read “Composed to celebrate the memory of a great man”.
Orchestral musicians consider the Eroica profoundly challenging. As if a battle is raging… all the instruments battling… musical cannon balls flung around with menacing intent… Napoleon losing his struggle with heroism.
Our very own Norman Nelson has a recollection of a performance recording of Eroica some few years ago. “One memorable occasion not easily forgotten, occurred during the London Symphony’s recording session of the work with, I believe, Solti conducting. The towering first movement, on average 14 minutes of glorious slog… was finally rehearsed enough to put on disc, and so we gave it our best. After the mandatory 5 seconds of silence in the hall, we all relaxed and began reaching for the cigarettes, when a familiar voice came over the speaker from the recording room with the shattering question… “Are you ready to record now?”

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If you receive alerts about new posts on SPOtlight in your email inbox, you may be confused about the Saturday concert. We showed the date as June 29th by mistake.

The concert at the Community Hall will take place on June 28th, Saturday night, at 7:30.

The High School is closed because of the strike.

We apologise for the mistake.

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The ongoing labour dispute between the teachers and the province has made the High School a no-go zone for the Sooke Philharmonic Orchestra.

We hope you will enjoy the June 28th concert in the new venue!

Sooke Community Hall
2037 Shields Rd
The community hall is opposite the Legion on Eustace Rd and across from Mom’s Café.
Concert time is unchanged, at 7:30 p.m.

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Like a party!

Bela Bartok

Bela Bartok, 1881-1945

The Sooke Philharmonic is playing the Bartok Concerto for Orchestra June 28th (Sooke) and June 29th (Victoria).
Here is what Norman Nelson, Sooke Philharmonic conductor, has to say:

“The Bartok a big, extravagant piece of writing. I have played it many times and it’s something I always wanted to conduct. To say that the work is difficult is an understatement. The virtuoso writing for the winds in particular will show our excellent players at their very best. I can’t wait.”

A big piece indeed. In addition to large string sections, the Concerto calls for a full complement of every kind of woodwind and brass, including tuba, plus tympanis and a percussion section that includes tam tam and side drum. Oh, and two harps. Although it is not often performed, it is greatly enjoyed by audiences. The piece has everything. It moves between subtle colours and delicate atmospherics to wild exuberance and raucous laughter, foot-stomping dance rhythms and the cold fingers of death.
Bartok wrote the Concerto in the last years of his life, and it is so full, you can almost imagine it as a whole life passing before your (his) eyes. It could also be a party, perhaps a fantastical party with strange masked guests, who drink and play games and reminisce their way through the light night of the summer solstice.
You are invited to our party! Come and listen to one of Bartok’s greatest works! The orchestra will be unusually large to accommodate Bartok’s extravagant writing. Some of the best amateur musicians in Victoria, Vancouver and Edmonton will be joining the usual Sooke Phil players, delighted with a chance to play this challenging and rewarding work.
The well-known Egmont Overture by Beethoven will open the evening. Alice Haekyo Lee will play the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto.

Some of the musicians joining us for this unusual concert are listed below.


Yasuko Eastman, violin (Victoria)
Studying chamber music with The Hungarian Quartet and the leader Zoltan Szekely over many years, Yasuko developed a keen interest in Bartok’s music. Hearing stories about Bartok and their friendship from Mr. and Mrs. Szekely, Yasuko feels close to Bartok in heart. Playing the Concerto for Orchestra is a dream come true for her, and she is grateful to Norman, who let her join Sooke Philharmonic for this concert.
Norman adds, “We worked together in Edmonton and of course in Sooke and Victoria, and I am delighted to be sharing the Bartok with her.”

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Valerie Sim, violin (Edmonton)
Valerie says:
I’m a scientist who practices medicine to support my music habit. The science? Mad cow disease. The medicine? Neurology. The music? Violin, piano, or whatever is in style!

I am thrilled to be playing Bartok’s Concerto for Orchestra for the first time and look forward to working with Norman Nelson, a true fan of Bartok.


Adrian Rys, cello (Edmonton)
Adrian wrote:
I am retired and my principal occupations are now family and music. I am Principal Cello in the Concordia Orchestra, a community orchestra in Edmonton. I love chamber music too and frequently attend the annual Sooke Harbour Chamber Music Workshop with other string musicians from Edmonton. Like many of the local Sooke Philharmonic players, we have benefited from superb coaching from Norman and his very able colleagues.


Carol Sperling, violin (Edmonton)
Retired from Human Resources from Alberta Government a year ago. Now I have more time to practise!! I play lots of music and enjoy life.
Member of Concordia College Symphony Orchestra, LaFolia Baroque Ensemble and look forward to playing with the Sooke Phil again. I see all the emails for sectionals and I wish I was there to partake for the extra details and rehearsals. Norman is challenging us to the fullest.
Really looking forward to it. Thanks for letting us be involved.


Heather Bergen

Heather Bergen, violin (Edmonton)

I am a violinist in the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra and Alberta Baroque Ensemble. A fair number of years ago I finished both my Bachelor and Masters of Music, studying with Norman Nelson. I am coming to Sooke for a refresher course in love of music, of passion for the instrument, care in listening and playing together, of relaxing while playing (“or you might as well be a sheep farmer”) and the infinite number of other inexpressible things that make playing with Norman so magical.



Allan de Caen, viola (Edmonton)
Allan is a violist by hobby, and a pediatric intensive care doctor by profession. Music (orchestral and chamber) is his passion, and his escape from his “paying job”. He is very excited to be performing Bartok with his Vancouver Island friends.



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Kaori Otake, harp (Vancouver)
Ms. Kaori Otake has given solo recitals and concerto performances around the world. She graduated from Indiana University, the Juilliard School and the Curtis Institute of Music. She currently is a harp instructor at Capilano University, Chilliwack Academy of Music, and North Shore Conservatory of Music at Gloria Dei Church and resides in Vancouver.

She says, “The Bartok Concerto for Orchestra is very important orchestra repertoire for harpists. It is often required for orchestra auditions and I am very excited to be able to perform this piece with the Sooke Philharmonic Orchestra.”


Please note that because of the labour dispute between teachers and province, the concert on Saturday the 28th, which was to have taken place at the EMCS theatre in Sooke, has been relocated to the Community Hall on Shields Road. Concert time will be 7:30.

The Sunday concert at Farquhar Auditorium at U Vic is unaffected and unchanged. John Horgan, our MLA, will be the MC!

Check the website for ticket information.

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Alice Haekyo Lee gave an unforgettable performance of the Saint-Saens Violin Concerto No.3 in October 2012, as the winner of the SPS Don Chrysler Concerto Competition. She will be back to play the Tchaikovsky violin concerto Op.35 with us June 28th in Sooke, and June 29th in Victoria. Alice was at Julliard for a season and is currently studying in Toronto.
This youngster is destined for great things — come listen to her again! Not only will you be in for a treat, you will be able to say you heard her when she was just beginning her brilliant career.
For our earlier interview with this wonderful youngster, scroll back to October, 2012.
Alice kindly took a few moments out from her busy schedule to answer SPOlight’s questions:
How is Toronto, do you like it as much as you loved New York?
Yes, I like Toronto. It’s is a milder version of New York in terms of the number of cars and people. Toronto is more involved with classical music than I expected, what with the Royal Conservatory of Music and the Toronto Symphony, which I heard last year with Itzhak Perlman playing Tchaikovsky concerto (and by the way it was FANTASTIC). There are many advanced students here like Juilliard, and many good teachers as well.

Tell us about your big music successes since we last heard you in October 2012.
Since it is my first year in Toronto I didn’t participate in any competitions, but I did play in some performances, including a master class for Midori, a performance in the Chan Centre in Vancouver, and a performance in Koerner Hall in Toronto. I will also play for the Midsummer Ball in Banff this summer.

Are you enjoying the Tchaikovsky?
Tchaikovsky has been one of my favourite concertos among Brahms, Sibelius, and others. Although the concerto is technically much harder than, for example, Saint Saens concerto no. 3, its melodies are very high-spirited and soaring, taking on many similar characteristics to ballet, which was Tchaikovsky’s strong point. I love trying to figure out what sort of dance each movement is, what type of character I should play for each phrase, and how to shape each bar.


PLEASE NOTE! The Sooke concert on Saturday, June 28th will be held at the Community Hall on Shields Road, at 7:30, and not at the high school in Sooke,  because of the labour dispute involving the teachers and the province.

The Sunday concert at U Vic is not affected and will be held as planned, at 7:30, at Farquhar Auditorium. The MLA for Juan de Fuca, John Horgan, will be the MC at the Sunday concert.

For full information, the Sooke Philharmonic website is at http://www.sookephil.ca

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