Tchaikovsky to open symphony concert

DOWNEY – In 1812, when Napoleon withdrew from Moscow after the disastrous Russian Campaign, Peter Tchaikovsky composed music to commemorate the great Russian victory, and he pulled out all the stops to express his country’s relief and joy. Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture is now a tumultuous staple on the concert stage, though it does take courage to offer its thunderous climax as the opening work on a program.

That, however, is exactly what we have at the top of tomorrow’s night’s Symphony concert in the Downey Theatre. Music Director Sharon Lavery included the 1812 on a list of possible selections for the Baton Auction winner to conduct, and winner Priscilla Winslow enthusiastically chose this blockbuster. Pris rocks!

Well, you better have some pretty exciting stuff to follow, and that’s what makes up the remainder of the evening.

There’s music from six soccer-crazed nations to usher in World Cup season. Soloist Chris Bartz plays Villa Lobos’ Fantasia for Soprano Saxophone, which you don’t hear every day. The live auction for next year’s Baton Winner takes place onstage, during which you may see Symphony board members in a new and rowdy light. And an exhilarating lobby exhibit of art works commemorates Earth Day.

Wrap it up with a complimentary champagne-punch-and-cookies reception in the patio for everyone – orchestra members, audience, artists, theater crew – and it’s a fitting way to complete the orchestra’s 56th consecutive season.

Downey Symphony concert is Saturday, April 5, at 8 p.m. Art exhibit begins at 7 p.m., Sharon Lavery’s pre-concert discussion at 7:15. Tickets are available online at, or by calling the theater box office, (562) 861-8211, and in person before concert time.

The Downey Civic Center Theatre is at 8435 Firestone Blvd., and parking is free.

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Published: April 3, 2014 - Volume 12 - Issue 51

Jennifer DeKay