PORT TOWNSEND — In the Canadian maritime province of Prince Edward Island, there were no oboists or oboe teachers.
This did not deter 14-year-old Anne Lapp of Summerside, who took up the instrument in 1966 with only a fingering chart as her guide.
“Not that I was a star,” said oboist Anne Krabill of Port Townsend, the featured soloist this Saturday with the Port Angeles Symphony Orchestra.
She relished the challenge of playing this slim woodwind, which has taken her across North America, to the United Kingdom and beyond; she performed at London’s Royal Albert Hall when she was still in her early 20s.
Not long after that, Krabill auditioned for the Atlantic Symphony Orchestra of Halifax, Nova Scotia, and landed the job in December 1974. Also in her section was an American bassoonist named Dave. They would play many more concerts together, including the two this Saturday at the Port Angeles High School Performing Arts Center.
The Port Angeles Symphony will take the stage at 10 a.m. and again at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the center, 304 E. Park Ave., with music director Jonathan Pasternack conducting a program of Tchaikovsky, Francaix and Mozart.
Both concerts are sold out, while a waiting list is available by phoning 360-457-5579 or emailing email@example.com. All patrons must be fully vaccinated and wear masks throughout the performance.
Information about the program, which includes Mozart’s 39th Symphony in E-flat major and Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings in C major, can be found at www.portangelessymphony.org.
This June, oboist Anne and bassoonist Dave Krabill will mark their 47th wedding anniversary; Port Townsend has been home for 38 of those years.
After nearly a decade with the Halifax orchestra, the musicians were called in and told the organization was folding. It was that turn of events that led to the Krabills’ move to the United States.
Last Sunday morning, Krabill talked while hemming the red wine-colored gown she’ll wear while performing.
She’s used to multi-tasking to a far greater extent.
In 1984, the Krabills moved to Port Townsend to develop the Emerald Reed Co., the reed-making business they ran for some three decades. They also raised four children: Ben, who has purchased the business; Martha, a singer and teacher; Grace, a dental hygienist; and Paul, an optometrist.
When Krabill joined the local symphony — she’s now a member of the Port Angeles and Port Townsend orchestras — it meant working all day, preparing a hot dinner for her kids to come home to and then driving to evening rehearsals more than an hour away.
Through it all, Krabill is devoted to the music. When the pandemic canceled orchestral concerts in 2020, she and Dave hosted front-porch performances at their place on Blue Sky Drive, drawing in neighbors who carefully kept their distance.
“People came on bicycles. One guy came on a lawn tractor,” she said, “and we don’t know who they were because they were all masked.”
The Port Angeles and Port Townsend symphony orchestras resumed their concerts in 2021, with Krabill featured as a soloist in last October’s event at Port Townsend’s American Legion Hall. Her performance with the Port Angeles Symphony will highlight a work Krabill chose — and one she’s never played in concert before.
Jean Francaix’s “L’horloge de Flore” (The Flower Clock) oboe concerto encompasses short movements just a few minutes in length, each representing various flowers blooming at certain times of the day.
In this garden, “there are a lot of little Easter eggs,” Krabill quipped.
There’s a movement with a bossa nova feel; another passage alludes to a can-can dance.
Throughout the concerto, the sound of a ticking clock travels from instrument to instrument, she added.
“It really is brilliant,” this music Francaix finished writing in early summer 1959.
Krabill, some five decades into her performing career, still feels a little nervous before she walks onto the stage. In a way, she believes, that gives the concert an extra zing.
“Live music would not be as exciting if the performers didn’t have the impetus of nerves to play through,”Krabill said.
Ideally, musicians use that to enhance their playing.
“Let’s see if I control nerves, or if they have their way,” she said.
Pasternack, based on his many concerts with Krabill, hasn’t a doubt in his mind about that.
“Anne Krabill is an exquisite oboist and a deeply sensitive musician,” he said.
“I am very grateful to have such an exceptional player, with Anne’s wealth of experience and gorgeous sound, as a leading member of the Port Angeles Symphony Orchestra.”
Jefferson County Senior Reporter Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-417-3509 or firstname.lastname@example.org.