By Diane Urbani de la Paz
Peninsula Daily News
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Stern will lead the Port Angeles Symphony Orchestra, with guest soloist Kamila Dameron, in the Pastoral this Saturday in two concerts: the 10 a.m. dress rehearsal and the 7:30 evening performance.
The maestro also will, as is his custom, give a pre-concert talk at 6:40 p.m. All of this will take place in the Port Angeles High School Performing Arts Center, 304 E. Park Ave.
The almost-spring event also has Johann Strauss' “Tales from the Vienna Woods” and Siegfried Wagner's “Forest Murmurs,” plus “Twelve Contredanses for Orchestra,” a little dance music from Beethoven.
“The overall theme of the concert, gleaned from the titles of the pieces themselves, could be viewed as a paean to nature,” Stern said.
But the Pastoral Symphony departs. Stern noted that the work, which premiered in 1922, is Vaughan Williams' requiem for the dear friends he lost in World War I, and an attempt to exorcise some of his own tragic war memories.
Stern chose Dameron, a Seattle-based soprano, to perform the Pastoral Symphony's offstage solo.
“It was important to have a young voice; the solo has to embody the youthful spirit of the fallen,” he said.
“Kamila brings to this solo both passion and innocence — a difficult combination to achieve — but she's got it.”
Dameron herself has been smitten by Vaughan Williams' music since she was a girl. She was 12 when she first heard his “Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis” on the radio.
“Over the years,” she said, “I got closer to his music,” as a teenager and then a young adult studying piano, cello, flute, trumpet and voice.
Vaughan Williams' works paint a picture, Dameron said, “of a man who is almost catastrophically big-hearted.”
Pain into beauty
In the Pastoral Symphony, “he takes what is painful and turns it into beauty — which is probably the highest goal an artist can have. I am honored to lend my voice to his work.”
Dameron, who is from DeKalb, Ill., is the daughter of musicians: both her parents are local pianists and conductors. She went on to study German and Russian at the University of Washington; the languages nourished her as a singer. She now teaches and performs in and around Seattle.
Saturday will be her first concert with the Port Angeles Symphony. She's heard from other musicians who have played with the orchestra, though. So “I know the high level of musicality that they strive for,” Dameron said, “and am looking forward to being a part of that.”
Tickets to the 10 a.m. dress rehearsal, in fact a casual concert, are $5 per person or $10 per family. For the 7:30 p.m. performance, reserved seats are $30, or $20 for seniors and students. General admission is $15 for adults and $12 for seniors and students.
Outlets for general seating tickets include Port Book and News, 104 E. First St., Port Angeles; Sequim Village Glass at 761 Carlsborg Road, Sequim, and The Good Book/Joyful Noise Music Center, 108 W. Washington St., Sequim. Reserved seating tickets are available at the Port Angeles Symphony office at 216-C N. Laurel St., Port Angeles. Tickets will also be on sale at the auditorium door Saturday.
For more information about these concerts and the rest of the symphony season, phone 360-457-5579 or visit www.PortAngelesSymphony.org.