Saturday, December 17, 2016

“Latin Passion,” performed by Oakville Chamber Orchestra, reviewed by Maura Morrison

My expectations for the relaxing date night that I had promised my husband, David, were absolutely met and surpassed when we attended a Saturday evening performance of "Latin Passion" by the Oakville Chamber Orchestra. 

The audience was warmly welcomed by a smiling concert master who offered informative and often humorous introductions to each selection that was performed by the large group of talented volunteer artists.  Lovely old St. John’s United Church on Randall Street in downtown Oakville was a perfect setting.  Lulled by the beautiful music, I let my thoughts drift and my eyes wander, taking in the altar, high ceilings and stained glass windows.  The music and the tranquil church setting really lent themselves to the indulgence of complete relaxation.

Alvin Tung
Guest artist, Dr. Alvin Tung, described in our program as “one of Canada’s most brilliant virtuosi” and an international performer and top prize winner in different competitions, certainly lived up to his bio with his entertaining solo performances of “Asturias” and “Tango en Skai.”  

We were also treated to wonderful performances by Ronald Royer, guest conductor for "Habanera," and Kaye Royer, soloist on clarinet in "Scaramouche."  Ronald Royer began his career as a cellist but now is widely known as a composer, conductor and educator.  Kaye Royer has worked with orchestras and chamber ensembles throughout Canada and internationally.  She is also a recording artist.

At the halfway mark in the performance the audience was invited to move to the church hall for fresh coffee provided by Cloud 9 Coffee Roastery and scrumptious pastries from The Danish Pastry House.  Even though it was well after our dinnertime, we each polished off two pastries along with our coffees!  This was truly an unexpected guilty pleasure.  As well my husband and I had the opportunity to chat with one of the musicians, a lovely young lady from Latvia, there that evening for her first performance with this chamber orchestra.

Back in our seats for the second half of the performance, we enjoyed a lively rendition of “Por una cabeza”, the tango performed by Al Pacino in the movie, Scent of a Woman.  This was followed by an equally entertaining “El amor brujo,” which tells the story of a love triangle involving an Andalusian gypsy, her husband, and her lover.   

The evening was a delight.  It went by all too quickly and we left with smiles on our faces.  For less than $60 for the two of us, combined with free parking right outside the door, it was a great value.  We will certainly be back for more performances by the Oakville Chamber Orchestra.

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Maura Morrison is an Oakville music lover who also enjoys photography and creative writing.

See Brian Henry’s schedule here, including writing workshops and creative writing courses in Algonquin Park, Bolton, Barrie, Brampton, Burlington, Caledon, Georgetown, Guelph, Hamilton, Ingersoll, Kingston, Kitchener, London, Midland, Mississauga, Oakville, Ottawa, Peterborough, St. Catharines, Saint John, NB, Sudbury, Thessalon, Toronto, Windsor, Woodstock, Halton, Kitchener-Waterloo, Muskoka, Peel, Simcoe, York Region, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.

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