Taking a trip with the symphony | PostIndependent.com

Taking a trip with the symphony

Photo by Ed Kosmicki

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado Tonight, Heather McGregor is taking a flight across a continent.Well, thats how the violinist likes think of Symphony in the Valleys newest show.As she put it, A Tour of Europe is a fast-paced international journey, one never staying very long but enough to get a taste of the local flavor, local musical styles.It will be a mix of recognizable songs and obscure ones, happy and intense ones, she explained. And it will have only a hint of Christmas.Yet, conductor Carlos Elias joked that hes no Grinch.He just wanted to give the public a tour of the different countries, he said.He knows that often, classical music is slapped with the title of boring. In his opinion, it just doesnt have to be that way. Classic orchestral pieces, especially from the Romantic period, are his favorite kind of tunes. They can be illustrative and dramatic, very theatrical at times. During the shows excerpts from Carmen, he thinks it will be easy for people to close their eyes and imagine flamenco dancers. In the bits from The Nutcracker, they can visualize how the Russian Dance and Chinese Dance might look on-stage. They dont have to be steeped in musical knowledge to understand all that. Hopefully, he feels, theyll experience something, hear something, become part of something and be moved by these songs. Hopefully, theyll come back to see more Symphony in the Valley shows.Were trying to get the whole region excited about the orchestra and classical music, he said.That open, all-inclusive approach to the genre is his present to the area.Thats what McGregor calls it, at least.A member of the group since it began in 1993, shes seen the effects of its music on the psyche. After a decade and a half of watching audiences, she can gauge what their responses might be. She knows that if a Finn hears Elias selection of Finlandia by Jean Sibelius, the nationalist piece might move the person to tears. If people listen to Edward Elgars Nimrod, they might feel calm, as though they are underwater. From the articulate way she described those emotions, it was clear that she felt similarly about the songs even more so, probably. The more she studies these pieces, she went on, the more they come to mean.When Im playing, Im not thinking about anything else, she said. All my other worries and concerns and everything just disappear, and I get completely carried away by music.When the orchestras audience feels the same this weekend, that really will be a gift.

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