Peterborough Symphony Orchestra brings the music of stage and screen to life at Peterborough Musicfest

Star Wars, Spies and More! on July 15 also features performances by guest artists Barbara Monahan and Unity

The Peterborough Symphony Orchestra, led by music director and conductor Michael Newnham, is performing Star Wars, Spies and More! at Peterborough Musicfest on July 15 at Del Crary Park. (Photo: Peterborough Symphony Orchestra)
The Peterborough Symphony Orchestra, led by music director and conductor Michael Newnham, is performing Star Wars, Spies and More! at Peterborough Musicfest on July 15 at Del Crary Park. (Photo: Peterborough Symphony Orchestra)

As wonderful as it was for area residents to come together recently to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday, the long lead-up to the big party unwittingly pushed other significant milestones worthy of our collective attention into the shadows.

For an impressive 50 years, the Peterborough Symphony Orchestra (PSO) has been a cultural jewel of Peterborough and the Kawarthas.

Beyond the region, it’s recognized as one of the finest community-based orchestras in Canada — a reputation born not just as a result of its members’ musicianship but also the orchestra’s performance of music programs with wide mass appeal.

On Saturday, July 15 at Del Crary Park, both attributes will again be on full display as Peterborough Musicfest presents the PSO performing Star Wars, Spies and More!

Sponsored by the Ontario Arts Council and Ontario150, the concert features symphonic pop favourites from the stage and screen the way they are meant to be heard — with the backing of a full orchestra. Barbara Monahan of the Peterborough Singers and the indigenous women’s a capella group Unity will be special guest artists for the evening.

The program includes the Triumphal March from Aida by Giuseppe Verdi, music from the movie Up by Michael Giacchino, music from the film Cinema Paradiso by Ennio Morricone, “Skyfall” from the James Bond movie of the same name arranged by J.A.C. Redford and featuring Barbara Monahan, The Fellowship of the Ring Medley from The Lord of the Rings by Howard Shore, the 1812 Overture by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, and the instantly recognizable Star Wars Suite by John Williams.

VIDEO: Star Wars Suite performed by the BBC Concert Orchestra

You will also enjoy new Canadian music by Christine Donkin, commissioned for the PSO’s 50th anniversary and inspired by Peterborough’s connection to water and the canoe, and featuring original music by Unity.

Front and centre, baton in hand, will be music director and conductor Michael Newnham. Known for his intense and inspiring conducting style as well as his unabashed contact with musicians and audience members, the 58-year-old Newnham has lifted the PSO to new heights since becoming the orchestra’s eighth music director and conductor in 2001.

At Peterborough Musicfest, Newnham will be directing the talented musicians of the PSO, including 40 volunteer musicians and professional string section leaders who come from all walks of life — from university students to retirees. They have dedicated their time, talents, and passion to bringing the finest orchestral music to life.

The Peterborough Symphony Orchestra will be performing music from the stage and screen including the opera Aida and films Up, Cinema Paradiso, Skyfall (featuring Barbara Monahan), The Lord of the Rings, and Star Wars. The orchestra will also present new Canadian music by Christine Donkin and featuring the indigenous singers from Unity. (Photo: Peterborough Symphony Orchestra)
The Peterborough Symphony Orchestra will be performing music from the stage and screen including the opera Aida and films Up, Cinema Paradiso, Skyfall (featuring Barbara Monahan), The Lord of the Rings, and Star Wars. The orchestra will also present new Canadian music by Christine Donkin and featuring the indigenous singers from Unity. (Photo: Peterborough Symphony Orchestra)

Star Wars, Spies and More! is sponsored by Classical 103.1 FM and Cottage Country Connection.

Peterborough Musicfest is presenting 17 free-admission concerts featuring a total of 22 acts during its 31st season — each staged every Wednesday and Saturday night until August 26th.

Overseen by general manager Tracey Randall and staff, a board of directors, and numerous volunteers, Peterborough Musicfest’s stated mission is to “provide diverse, affordable live music to enrich cultural and economic prosperity in our community.”

For more information on this concert and/or the 2017 season, visit www.ptbomusicfest.ca or phone the Peterborough Musicfest office at 705-755-1111.

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Paul Rellinger

Paul Rellinger a.k.a Relly is an award-winning journalist and longtime former newspaper editor still searching for the perfect lead.

When he’s not putting pen to paper, Paul is on a sincere but woefully futile quest to own every postage stamp ever issued. A rabid reader of history, Paul claims to know who killed JFK but can’t say out of fear for the safety of his oh so supportive wife Mary, his three wonderful kids and his three spirited grandchildren. Paul counts among his passions Peterborough’s rich live music scene, the Toronto Maple Leafs, slopitch and retrieving golf balls from the woods.

You can follow Paul on Twitter at @rellywrites.

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