Portland's Columbia Symphony Orchestra will make an historic debut in the Gerding Theater in the renovated Armory building this Saturday evening at 7:30 pm. The CSO will become the first symphonic group to play in the new theater and they will be the first orchestra to play in the Armory since the days before 1920 when the touring orchestras used the big building for their concerts. The New York Symphony (predecessor to the New York Philharmonic), the Chicago Symphony, and the Minnesota Orchestra played in the Armory to very large crowds.
Conductor Huw Edwards leads the Columbia Symphony in the upcoming performance, which will be a celebration of the ensemble's 25th year. In this day of struggling budgets for orchestra, that's a good reason to celebrate.
"We are intrigued to hear how the theater will sound," said Edwards. "It’s a great chance for us to replay some of the pieces from the season. And the Pearl is a burgeoning and happening place. Lots of people like to walk there. We want to tap into the downtown , urban style."
The program features the March King Cotton by Sousa, a portion of Mendelssohn’s Reformation Symphony, the Brahms’ Tragic Overture, Bach's "Concerto for Oboe and Violin" with soloists Brad Hochhalter (oboe) and Dawn Carter (violin), and concludes with Rossini’s William Tell Overture.
The concert is a benefit for the South West Music School, which has been helping to support music education in the public schools for the past 12 years. Deb Postlewait is the new managing director of the South West Music School, and she is looking forward to this concert collaborating with the Columbia Symphony in the future.
"Kids need to have a goal beyond taking lessons," said Postlewait. "This concert is an excellent way for them to see and hear the results of years of study."
Postlewait and members of the South West Music School will be selling $50 raffle tickets at the concert. The winner will receive two airline tickets for a round trip within the continental US, and only 100 tickets will be sold.
Tickets for the concert cost $25 apiece for adults and $10 for students.