The Windsor Symphony Orchestra is continuing through it 75th season and recently celebrated with a special Birthday Bash weekend on September 24 and 25 at the Capitol Theatre with guests Quartetto Gelato.
After a rather inspired version of the Canadian National Anthem, the symphony warmed up with Boléro, a one-movement orchestral piece by Maurice Ravel that is instantly recognizable by its repetitive drum beat the first couple notes on the flute. It’s a beautiful work and loved by many for its simple and repetitive ostinato that goes 15 rounds. The unwavering drum pattern goes on for more than 5,000 beats, with each and every one of them winning hearts and admiration.
The main attraction for this engagement was the incredibly talented four members of Quartetto Gelato from Hamilton. The quartette has been around for more than 30 years and recently replaced two of its members, one coming from the Windsor Symphony itself – Tino Konstantin Popovic, the orchestra’s Assistant Concertmaster and a member of the Education and Community Outreach team. The troupe’s other new member is an incredible player, Finnish accordionist Matti Pulkki. The group is rounded out by oboist, singer, and multi-instrumentalist Colin Maier, who joined in 2009 and Cellist Kirk Starkey who joined in May 2018.
With nine albums to their credit, the group had plenty of material to draw from, but elected to perform eight of 13 songs from their newest album Tasty Tunes. This made up most of their repertoire, but still provided an incredible evening/afternoon of well-performed music. It’s not just the undeniable skills of the ice cream quartette players that is notable, but also their energy and enthusiasm. The group uses big movements and on-stage choreography to spark the crowd.
Each member of the band was given time to showcase their skills by performing a piece that was close to their hearts. Maier performed an almost ridiculously amazing bag-pipe solo on his oboe, Pulkii was able to move his fingers across the numerous buttons on his accordion at an extraordinary pace, Starkey showed why is considered one of the best cellists in Canada, along with performing while wearing the instrument much like a guitar, and Popovic stepped up to showcase his violin and vocals for a Serbian folk song called Mesečina. This was most likely his first time singing on that grand Captiol Theatre stage.
One of the highlights of the show was the singalong 1931 Cab Calloway classic Minnie The Moocher. Although not full big band swing, it was great to hear the orchestra stretch its wings a little and let the horn section add a big band sound to the piece.
The show was capped off with a complimentary iced treat from Nuccelli’s Frozen Yogurt as patrons left the building.
The orchestra will next perform for a sold-out concert featuring Mozart’s Symphony No. 15 and another from his contemporary Boccherini, La casa del Diavolo (The Devil’s House) on Thursday, October 6, 2022. For more upcoming performances and ticket information, visit windsorsymphony.com.