P O W E L L, W y o. - It's not often Big Horn Basin music lovers get a chance to attend concerts locally that feature over 40 violins on stage. A Saturday, Nov. 3, concert with three orchestras combined is the exception. It begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Nelson Performing Arts Center Auditorium on the Northwest College campus.
The Northwest Civic Orchestra (NCO) will be joined on stage by two Billings orchestras - the Repertory Orchestra, directed by Shuichi Komiyama, and the Young Artists Orchestra, under the baton of Lisa Bollman.
Jan Kliewer, an assistant professor of music at NWC and NCO director, said the numbers of string musicians performing Saturday is usually only seen in large symphonies. That's not the only difference. "We're adding a little adventure," he said, "by holding only one combined rehearsal, which will be held just hours before the performance."
The two Billings orchestras are both non-school youth ensembles that offer young musicians a more intensive string program than can typically be found in public schools.
"This combination of orchestras gives all three sets of musicians a special opportunity," Kliewer said. "The Billings orchestras are strings only, so they'll have a chance to perform with full sections of winds and brass. Our own NCO instrumentalists will get to taste the larger 'symphonic' approach to performing in concert."
Beethoven's first symphony will anchor the program. According to Kliewer, "The work is youthful and full of humor. It just seemed right for this concert." He adds, tongue in cheek, that since it's written in C major, everyone knows it's supposed to be easy." For those who aren't clued into the world of musical humor, Kliewer explains that a C major composition doesn't have sharps and flats, which are more challenging, however, any large work like a symphony, including this one, is written in several keys."
The program rounds out with one of Bizet's L'Arlesienne Suites, a perennial favorite in the orchestral cannon, and Bach's Little Fugue in G minor, which Kliewer calls "a fun little work."
A reception in Room 29 following the concert will give the audience a chance to meet the artists. "We're expecting the Billings musicians to have plenty of their own 'groupies' show up," Kliewer said, referring to parents.
General admission is $7. Senior citizens pay $5, and students and children are admitted free. The concert is supported in part by a grant from the Wyoming Arts Council, through funding from the Wyoming State Legislature and the National Endowment for the Arts, which believes a great nation deserves great art.