Columbia Orchestra has something for everyone

Howard County Times

The ever-popular Symphonic Pops concert format is a way to bring classical music and more contemporary popular music closer together, which is why the Columbia Orchestra can expect to attract a crowd for its next program on Saturday, April 14, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, April 15 at 3 p.m. at Jim Rouse Theater.

This program draws from the rich Broadway musical heritage for selections from the great team of Rodgers and Hammerstein: “South Pacific,” “Carousel” and “Oklahoma.” It also draws from the work of the greatest living Broadway composer, Stephen Sondheim: “Sweeney Todd” and “Into the Woods.”

Other theatrical musicals to be sampled include “Candide” and “Fiddler on the Roof.”

Helping to bring these songs alive are guest vocalists Sola Fadiran and Julie Kurzava.

Movie scores also get their orchestral due with such cinematic spectacles as “E.T.” and “Superman.”

Besides all of that established musical talent, the Columbia Orchestra also will feature two of the winners of its Young Artist Competition.

For Columbia Orchestra music director Jason Love, such concerts provide him with an opportunity to put together eclectic programs in which every audience member surely will have a personal favorite popping up on the program.

“I really think about these programs for two or three years at a time,” said Love, in terms of thinking about what will work together well on the same program. “The Rodgers and Hammerstein package is a great draw, and I wanted to combine it with something newer like the Sondheim. And this is also Bernstein’s centennial,” making “Candide” a natural selection.

The general idea is to put together fast-flowing medleys that Love said allow for “alternating high-energy pieces with more tender things. It’s important to keep things moving.”

It’s also important to have a diversity of offerings. Indeed, in addition to the above-mentioned selections, the upcoming program includes everything from what Love described as a “lush and flamboyant” classical piece, Carmen Dragon’s “Czardas,” to Isaac Hayes’ soul-drenched theme from the movie “Shaft.”

The vocal soloists featured in some of these selections promise to be up to the task.

Sola Fadiran won his first Howard County Rising Star competition at the Howard County Arts Council’s Celebration of the Arts in 2015. When the arts council commemorated its 20th annual Celebration of the Arts in 2017, Fadiran went up against other previous recipients of this award and emerged as the winner of a Rising All-Star competition. This graduate of Glenelg High School performed with the Columbia Center for Theatrical Arts and Toby’s Dinner Theatre, now studies at the College Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati, and already has appeared with organizations including Cincinnati Opera, Kentucky Symphony Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Utah Festival Opera and the Metropolitan Opera/Lincoln Center Theater commission of “Intimate Apparel.”

Julia Kurzava, who received her BM from Northwestern University and MM from the Peabody Conservatory, is a singer and actor who has appeared at venues including Olney Theatre, Maryland Ensemble Theatre, Annapolis Opera and Maryland Renaissance Festival. She is co-founder and executive director of New Moon Theater, and is on the music faculty at Loyola University Maryland.

Among the winners of the Columbia Orchestra’s Young Artist Competition, the Junior Wind Division first place winner, flute player Amy Hwang, performs Chaminade’s Flute Concerto on the Saturday night program; and the Junior String Division first place winner, violinist Joseph Tao, performs the first movement of the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto on the Sunday afternoon program.

The Columbia Orchestra has a Symphonic Pops concert on Saturday, April 14 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, April 15 at 3 p.m. at Jim Rouse Theatre at Wilde Lake High School, 5460 Trumpeter Road in Columbia. Tickets are $10- $28. Call 410-465-8777 or go to ColumbiaOrchestra.org

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