Arts and Entertainment

A common man’s trip to the Bremerton Symphony

I am not a classical music reviewer.

I’ve just got to throw that out there.

But with that said, when the Bremerton Symphony debuted its 2008-09 season in the last weekend in September, it seemed right that What’s Up should have some eyes and ears there in the concert hall. It’s not often that you see community concert reviews and the like appearing in these pages, but there are times when a review is definitely in order.

Not necessarily for the endorsement or critique, but more so just to relay the experience in hopes of enticing others to indulge in the art which this community has to offer.

The symphony is certainly something you’ve got to experience to understand.

Truthfully, even then, you might not fully understand it, but after one trip to the symphony, you can at least comprehend the magnificence of more than 30 instruments in concert, in a completely silent performance hall.

It is impressive.

From the very back row of the Bremerton Performing Arts Center (at Bremerton High School), I look down and see the back of maestra Elizabeth Stoyanovich with her head dropped into the music, shoulders back, waving her arms around like poetry in motion in front of a sea of instrumentalists.

The orchestra is working its way through Tchaikovsky’s first concerto for piano with special guest pianist Dainius Vaicekonis at the front of the stage.

Stoyanovich’s hand-motion poetry is given gigantic sound through the instruments of the Bremerton Symphony players.

With the music making me sit up straight in my chair, it’s difficult not to instinctively wave my arms like the conductor while banging my head with the tempo of the music — until the only other person in the back row, an old dude here by himself, looks at me like I’m crazy.

So I lean back in my seat, close my eyes and let myself be completely enveloped by the orchestra.

I can feel melancholy in the air as Vaicekonis climbs a crescendo to the high end of the piano. My mind is racing with the sorrows of the day, all culminating in that mournful melody. And then, the symphony’s string corps (which is delightfully massive) comes in with a peaceful sort of commissary, carrying the song to a vague hinge where it hangs momentarily, with nary another noise in the room, full of a couple hundred people.

“The silence, oh the silence,” I scribbled in my notepad. “It’s like you could hear a friggin’ pin drop, literally — well not an actual pin, but I think someone just dropped a pen on stage, because I heard something hit the floor.”

Then in another moment, the symphony is raging back to forte, and onto fortissimo, sonically bobbing and weaving while I’m swaying in my seat. They carry on, more and more animated, riding a crescendo to the finale and on to the final note — “Bah, bahm-baaahhhm!” 

And the silent crowd gives way to an ocean of clapping. Classic. As it should be.

And I didn’t even have to dress up to appreciate it.


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