Ô-CELLI concert review


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By Val Friesen

The Ô-CELLI concert Friday evening, March 29th in the Venables, was the perfect endpiece to this season’s South Okanagan Concert Society’s series of concerts. Excellent choice, and it enchanted the sold-out audience! The eight cellists come from major European orchestras and chamber groups, and have toured much of the world since their formation in Belgium in 2010.

Ô-CELLI are superb musicians, and the program they put together featured much joyful music. Each piece was given a brief, relaxed introduction with a few helpful words to set the mood for a musical journey through sunny Italy, Spain, Argentina and Mexico (with hints of Cuba). The music was arranged for cello octet to highlight all the wondrous sonorities of that beloved instrument. The tonal, rhythmic and percussive possibilities were fully explored by musicians who know what they’re doing, love what they’re doing, and know how to delight, move and entertain their audience. And really, that’s why we go to concerts, isn’t it? And maybe also to hear something or someone new, a fresh interpretation, or a work or artist that touches deeply. In the case of this concert, it was all of the above, much to the joy of the listeners.

The first piece, the overture to Verdi’s opera, The Forces of Destiny, is a dramatic piece predicting the treachery and doom in the opera it introduces, so if not exactly setting the mood for a joyous evening, it did provide the octet with the opportunity to display their ensemble playing—which was precise and sensitive. And there was no doom in the wondrous music which followed.

The next three pieces brought to life the essential rhythms, melodies, and warmth and passion that is the essence of Spanish music—you could nearly smell the olives and the Mediterranean air. How the composers (de Falla and Turina, and the Frenchman Chabrier) captured this essence in their delightful compositions is part of the magic of music, but equally impressive is how Ô-CELLI gave it life.

The program continued after the intermission with Nina Rota’s famous and touching “La Strada” from Fellini’s 1954 film of the same name, followed by three pieces composed by the king of tangos, Argentina’s Astor Piazzolla. The second of those, “Milonga del Angel,” was for me a personal highlight of the evening, so soulful and beautiful, played exquisitely by the octet.

The contemporary Barcelona composer, Oriol Cruxient’s modern piece, “Fa Do,” featured some fascinating drumming on the cello itself to accompany the melodies shifting about through the various players.

The last piece, “Danzon #2” (1994) by the Mexican composer, Arturo Marquez, was performed spectacularly bringing its Cuban dance rhythms to life. Simply charming.

And yes, the standing ovation required an encore. And what a surprise! Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” to cap off an absolutely unforgettable musical evening.

What a wonderful concert. Thank you, Ô-CELLI! And thanks to the members of SOCS who spend many volunteer hours to enhance life in our community, and special thanks to the sponsors who make it all so affordable. Concerts such as this truly enrich our lives.

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SOCS FINAL CONCERT 2018-2019 SEASON –  Friday, March 29, 2019

South Okanagan Concert Society decided to blow the budget and bring in the irresistible O-Celli, cello octet, to complete the 2018-2019 concert season.  That translates into eight (yes 8!) musicians drawn from prominent European orchestras from Paris to Belgium to Britain.  This is a cosmopolitan  ensemble which is represented by five different nationalities.  Together they share a passion for the extraordinary richness of their instrument.  Their concerts are characterized by originality and dynamic presentation.

The concert you absolutely should not miss takes place at the beautiful new Venables theatre in Oliver at 7:30 pm on Friday, March 29, 2019.  Tickets are on sale at www.venablestheatre.ca or at the box office Tuesdays to Thursdays from 10 to 3 pm.  Thanks to our generous sponsors, tickets are very affordable.  Two or more tickets in advance cost only $21/ticket.  A single ticket in advance is $23.  Single tickets at the door are $25.  Children and youth are encouraged to attend for $2.50.

Many of you fell in love with the cello when you experienced Sheku Kanneh-Mason’s  solo rendition of Schubert’s Ave Maria at the wedding of Prince Harry.  The instrument, closest to the human voice is one of the few which carries being multiplied.  When played together with others, the beauties of this intrument add up, giving birth to a unique, full vibration and exceptional sound.

Prepare to be taken on a fabulous journey through a repertoire of both original and arranged pieces.  The cellists eagerly travel through a wide musical panel, ranging from Verdi to Piazzolla with sweeping nods to Nino Rota and Marquez.

If you come ¾ hour prior to the concert start, you can enjoy listening to talented young local pianists perform in the foyer as you meet with friends.  After the concert

stay and enjoy a post concert no host reception in the glittering foyer and meet the musicians in a relaxed atmosphere.  There will be a nominal fee for beverages.  Appetizers will be provided as a good will gesture.  This is where you can learn more about the upcoming concert series planned for next year and take advantage of some exciting economic incentives (bring cheque books or credit cards) when you order your tickets for next year.


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Good Morning Sunday!

I see doves and black birds and a hawk . . . he cleared the room!

It takes about a half an hour and they are back again. Quail, a few morning doves and lots of ringneck doves and the ones I call the little blonds and redheads. They all pair nicely with morning coffee.

Yesterday afternoon a hummingbird was at the back door! I could have touched it! The only thought I had was don’t breathe!

Arty Smarty at Oliver Parks and Rec ended with a whoot.

We were lucky enough to have very special guests, Biologist Lauren and Pluto the Burrowing Owl join us.

As demonstrated I don’t know how to draw an owl! They need a smile!

Children’s thoughts come out in art, yesterday was one of those days.

Serious concerns with love were expressed and a fear of Owls was addressed successfully.

From under the table, to a makeshift work station as far away from Pluto as possible, we put a safe distance between them.

A few moments later . . . back at the desk, a painting of the owl and a photo bravely standing close, not too close . . .  to the owl.


This is why Sally and I do this. We have our projects, however if they have something else in mind we really encourage their own ideas.

That is were the best art comes from!

Arty Smarty will start again Saturday, April 13 from 11 to noon.

Connect with katie@oliverrecreation.ca at Oliver Parks and Rec to register.


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Hot Stuff at Maker Place

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Maker Place Orchards are in Bloom!

14 Ladies and good conversation . . .Pair well with paint and creativity!Our hostess Dianne with Councilwoman Aimee add Mother Nature’s spring lace to their trees.Patti finishes her Cherry Blossom’s with a signature!Thank you Claire! You wanted to paint Cherry Blossoms . .  your wish is our command! So much fun! I love the way dancer Andrea’s Cherry tree rises onto the stage.

PS The painting of the dancer behind the dancer was done about 2010. Collected by Dianne before she came to Oliver. Is it up for re collection? Is that a word? There are many Artists represented at Maker Place. There should be a wedding under that tree Miss Isabell! This was so much fun! I tell my students if you don’t do the project I assign and do your own thing I am even happier . . . Martina makes me smile! And she takes really good care of our pets!Love the way the trunk turns. In Vicki’s I see a woman holding up a veil of Cherry Blossoms! Absolutely beautiful Cris!Instead of flower corey got this class and an evening with the ladies! We all thank her  Hubby!How much fun was this?

We had a waiting list so we will have another Cherry Blossom Paint Night Wednesday March 26 at 6:30. Connect with Dianne at Maker Place to register!Enjoy these on your walls for many years to come. Congratulations Ladies on your fabulous results!

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It is snowing again . . . oh good . . . NOT

Some days snow happens. You don’t want it! It is cold! You want it to go away but you wake up and here it is, back again.

Snow like the outer “S” word happens to the best people. When you least expect it.

It has been a year since I dealt with the worst experience of my adult life. And I am still “working” through it.

It was a very bad crash and burn.

It is very hard to pick yourself up by the bra straps and move on. Baby steps at first, then a bigger step, then a crash backwards.

You get up again dust yourself off and try to  take another baby step forward. And yes a step backwards hurts almost as much as the memory you are walking away from.

But like the snow . . . the shock will be replaced by  the joy of spring.

Something to work towards and something to look forward to.

Good Morning Oliver! Make it a fabulous day . .  in spite of the snow. Think of it as Mother Nature’s designer lace.


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