The Lawton Philharmonic Orchestra is preparing for a double feature in February with back-to-back events on Feb. 7 and 8.
The orchestra will kick things off on Feb 7 when it presents a performance of Benjamin Britten’s “The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra” at the McMahon Memorial Auditorium.
The concert will be narrated by Albert Johnson Jr., who will guide audience members through the performance.
The purpose of the concert is to “expose young people to all orchestral instruments during a live concert with a full, professional symphony orchestra,” according to the orchestra’s Music Director and Conductor Jon Kalbfleisch.
The production is sponsored by the Terry K. Bell Charitable Trust, the McCasland Foundation, the Priddy Foundation and the Lawton Fort Sill Chamber of Commerce.
The following day the orchestra will return to the McMahon Memorial Auditorium to continue its 2019-2020 season, “The Concerto Games,” with its second concert, “Everybody Loves a Classic.”
The concert will feature works of prominent classical music from the likes of Mozart and Haydn. Stacey DiPaolo, clarinet, and Kate Pritchett, horn, will serve as solo artists for the performance.
“They are both principal players in the orchestra, and they’re looking forward to being out front for a change,” Kalbfleisch said. “We’re very fortunate to have such great players within the orchestra, and it’s a great opportunity for the audience to hear what they do in a solo setting.”
The concert marks the mid-point in the orchestra’s current season. Kalbfleisch said the reactions to the season up to now have been “enthusiastic and encouraging,” and he is, as always, happy to see new faces at each concert.
“When the orchestra featured in the Amazon Prime series ‘Mozart in the Jungle’ visited Rikers Island prison in New York, they played a concert for the inmates. After the performance, the inmates commented that they’d never seen anything like that before, and that the music allowed them to forget they were in prison,” Kalbfleisch said. “Imagine how a live orchestra concert might affect you. The players and I love this music, and we love playing it, and that feeling is palpable if you’re there to experience it.”
Mozart and Haydn’s works are “the very embodiment of classical music,” said Kalbfleisch. “Nobody did it better than they did.”
Elaborating on the theme of “The Concerto Games,” Kalbfleisch emphasized the “physicality” of playing a musical instrument.
“Playing an instrument, like playing a sport, requires total physical and mental involvement, and years of training and practice. Every breath and fingering, every lip movement and hand position, and every mental gymnastics, all combine to create the unique sounds of each instrument, playing some of the greatest music ever written,” he said.
Anyone wanting a sneak peek of the concert is welcome to attend a pre-performance from the two soloists at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 4 at the Leslie Powell Gallery where Kalbfleisch will conduct DiPaolo and Pritchett through their solos for the first time in preparation for the concert.
“Two charming, elegant and delightful concerti by Mozart, played by our own soloists, followed by one of Haydn’s most famous and rollicking symphonies, is a recipe for a perfect escape from the everyday grind,” he said.