The Victoria Symphony will be performing at the Qualicum Beach Civic Centre Sept. 28. The concert

Victoria Symphony celebrating 75 years in Qualicum Beach

The symphony has 34 full time and 10 part time musicians

CARLI BERRY

The Victoria Symphony is coming back to Qualicum Beach Sept. 28 and along with it will be the Last Night of the Proms.

The symphony has been performing in Qualicum Beach since 1993, director of marketing Jill Smillie said.

Conductor Brian Jackson said Last Night is based on a series of famous concerts in England called The Proms.

It is unusual that the Last Night of the Proms should start off a concert series in September, Jackson said with a laugh.

Out of the 12 pieces selected he said the hardest piece to perform would have to be Elgar’s Variation 9 exerpt.

But the musicians have had years of practice.

They’re seasoned professionals that “can read anything that’s in front of them,” Jackson said.

This year Jackson returns to conduct songs from Lord of the Rings, Downton Abby, I Wanna Hold Your Hand and selections from Mary Poppins.

The symphony is celebrating its 75th year after local musicians and community members from the Naden Band formed the symphony in 1939, Smillie said. “After an unsuccessful attempt at organizing an orchestra and only one concert in 1939, musicians in the local community and members of the newly formed Naden Band joined together to form the Victoria Symphony Orchestra in 1941,” she said.

The first concert was held on May 18, 1942 in the Empress Hotel ballroom and the band has been evolving ever since.

Smillie said, during the ’40s and ’50s the symphony played three to four concerts a year. In the ’60s they were performing seven to eight concerts and added series like “pops” and “family” concerts in the ’80s. Now they play over 60 concerts a year.

“It’s a great introduction for light orchestra,” Jackson said.

The symphony  has 34 full time and 10 part time musicians who have two to five rehearsals per performance. They come from across North America.

Tickets are $32 and can be purchased at the Mulberry Bush Bookstores in Parksville and in Qualicum Beach. The music starts at 7:30 p.m. at the Qualicum Beach Civic Centre.

 

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