Walla Walla Symphony celebrates Bergman's 25th year as conductor

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"Maestro's Silver Season" is the theme for the 105th season of the Walla Walla Symphony. The Symphony also will celebrate Maestro Yaacov Bergman's 25th season as conductor.

The year will feature a five-concert Symphony Series, which includes a December "Messiah "concert, a family concert, a three-concert Benefit Chamber Soiree Series and "Mares 'n Music" in the spring, as well as two performances of "The Nutcracker" with the Mid-Columbia Ballet in December.

The Symphony Series includes the"Brahms Festival" on Oct. 11, which features renowned violinist Haroutune Bedelian performing Brahms' "Violin Concerto in D Major," and the Symphony performing Brahms' "Academic Festival Overture" and "Symphony No. 2 in D Major."

On Nov. 1, tuba soloist Torrey Lawrence will perform Edward Gregson's Tuba Concerto in "Autumn Fanfare," which also includes a new composition, "fanTAStic! - A Celebration of 25 Fantastic Years," by principal trumpet William Berry. Lawrence will also perform Saint-Saens' "Symphony No. 3 in C Minor," popularly known as "The Organ Symphony," with local organist Kraig Scott as soloist.

On Dec. 11, the symphony performs Handel's "Messiah" at the Walla Walla University Church with soloists Sarah Parnicky, soprano; Beth Madsen Bradford, mezzo soprano; Daniel Buchanan, tenor; and Charles Robert Stephens, bass; along with the Walla Walla University Choir directed by Kraig Scott and the Mid-Columbia Master Singers directed by Justin Raffa.

On Feb. 14, "Valentine - An Evening of Cole Porter" is the theme, with vocalist Rocky Blumhagen, formerly of Milton-Freewater, returning to his home area to perform Porter songs with the Symphony.

"Spring Celebration" on April 24 features one of the area's favorite pianists, Stephen Beus, performing Rachmaninoff's "Piano Concerto No. 3 in D Minor, Op. 30." The Symphony will also perform Tchaikovsky's "Symphony No. 4 in F Minor" to round out the season.

Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker" will again be featured in a 2 p.m. matinee and a 7:30 p.m. performance on Dec. 17. The Mid-Columbia Ballet, under the direction of Debra Rogo, will perform the ballet with the Walla Walla Symphony, along with dance students of Idalee Hutson-Fish.

The Family Foodraiser concert will be Nov. 17 with admission being a non-perishable food item. Featured this year is a performance by young violinist Alyssa Stremcha with the symphony, as well as "The Noisy Intermission" by Michael Valenti, Joan Bergman and Ron Spivak, narrated by Ron Spivak.

Discovery Concert Mares 'n' Music is planned for June 10.

The Symphony's Saturday Soiree Chamber Music Series, which features Symphony Series soloists, will be in an intimate concert venue at St. Paul's Episcopal Church.

Hors d'oeuvres, wine, coffee and tea will be available as well as a chance to meet with the soloists before the concert. The Oct. 8 event will feature violinist Haroutune Bedelian, pianist Lorna Griffitt and cellist Edward Dixon. On Dec. 8 vocal soloists from "Messiah" will perform, and on April 21 pianist Stephen Beus will be featured.

For tickets or more information, call 509-529-8020 or visit wwsymphony.org.

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