Review - The Courier, March 16

 

Spirit '20 group delivers world-class performance

Wednesday night the Community Theatre rang with the music of ‚─˙Spirit 20‚─¨ presented by the Community Concerts Association, and what an evening it was. The group of six musicians , James Campbell, Clarinet; Mark Fewer, Violin; Guy Few, Trumpet; Chloe Dominguez, Cello; James McKay, Bassoon; and John Novacek, Piano, an unusual mix of instruments, but they made it work like a charm. Each of them is a virtuoso, and together they were amazing.

Much of the repertoire was in the style of the 1920s to the 1940s, which really works for me, being music I love to hear, and it was wonderful!

There were so many highlights it is hard to pick just one, but for me, the Gershwin Rhapsody In Blue was outstanding. It is probably my favorite piece from that era and although it was written for Piano and a full orchestra, they carried it off in fine style. From the opening Clarinet cadenza to the closing triumphant chords it was a tour de force. The piano was particularly stunning. Novacek turned in a flawless performance, no easy feat.

Although the Gershwin was great, the rest of the programme was equally so, featuring a number of composers unfamiliar to me. Each gave the performers an opportunity to show their ability. None were a disappointment. A solo Cello piece was enchanting, a Violin and Piano was exciting with marvelous cross-rhythms, and the Duke Ellington for the ensemble was spectacular.

The final number was an arrangement of Darius Milhaud‚─˘s Scaramouche, familiar to many pianists, written for 2 pianos. Their version was a delightful romp displaying once again their superb technique, style and teamwork.

As an encore they reprised some of the Ellington, giving the players a solo turn to the delight of the audience. To sum it up, this is a tight group that really 'cooks' and all I can say is WOW! Well done.

Marvin Dickau is an Organist, Pianist and Conductor who has an A.Mus from the University of Alberta. He has conducted choirs and small orchestras, given solo piano and organ recitals and accompanied many singers and instrumentalists in Kelowna and Calgary