Conductor Tigran Arakelyan leads the Port Townsend Symphony Orchestra in rehearsal last month. The ensemble will give its winter concert this Saturday at the Chimacum High School auditorium. (Diane Urbani de la Paz/Peninsula Daily News )

Conductor Tigran Arakelyan leads the Port Townsend Symphony Orchestra in rehearsal last month. The ensemble will give its winter concert this Saturday at the Chimacum High School auditorium. (Diane Urbani de la Paz/Peninsula Daily News )

Port Townsend Symphony to perform live

Free concert scheduled this coming weekend

CHIMACUM — The Port Townsend Symphony Orchestra will return to its traditional home this coming weekend.

The ensemble, with conductor Tigran Arakelyan and featured soloist Maria Powell, are preparing to take the stage at the Chimacum High School auditorium, 91 West Valley Road, for a concert which, like all of their performances, is free.

Arakelyan will step up to the podium at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Reservations can be made by emailing contact@ptsymphony.org. Concert-goers are asked to give a name and the number planning to attend, since capacity will be limited to about 150.

The public is also welcome at the free dress rehearsal in the auditorium at 7 p.m. Friday, with no reservations necessary.

On either evening, all audience members must show proof of full vaccination at the door, and everyone must wear a mask with at least two layers over the nose and mouth.

The entire Port Townsend Symphony Orchestra is fully vaccinated, noted violist and spokesman Jay Bakst. The string players wear their masks at all times while the horn players stay masked whenever possible.

“It’s so nice to be able to get together, rehearse, and put on a concert” in the auditorium, said Bakst. He’s also impressed by the soloist, who won the Port Townsend Symphony’s 2021 Young Artist Competition in April.

“She plays extremely well,” Bakst said of Powell, who at 16 took the $500 first prize with her performance of Georges Guilhaud’s “First Concertino.”

“It was such a joy to perform for a live audience. I didn’t realize how much I had missed an experience like that,” Powell said after winning. A Marrowstone Islander, she’s also earned top ratings in regional and state competitions, and took part in Seattle’s JazzED Girls Ellington Project in 2019 and the Quincy Jones Ensemble with Clarence Acox in 2020.

For this 2021-2022 academic year, Powell is a junior and the Chimacum drum major of the newly combined East Jefferson High School Band.

The saxophonist, who plays both alto and tenor, loves how the instrument has her playing classical music one day and jazz the next.

The Port Townsend Symphony concert, just an hour long, will range from Holst’s “Brook Green Suite” and Heitor Villa-Lobos’ Fantasia for Saxophone to Karlowicz’ Serenade for Strings. A percussion piece, “Holiday Hoopla,” rounds out the program.

Bakst said the orchestra numbers about 30 musicians, which is a smaller ensemble than usual.

“For us, it’s going to be kind of neat,” he said.

“Normally when we’re on stage at the auditoium, it’s crowded as all get-out.”

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Jefferson County senior reporter Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-417-3509 or durbanidelapaz@peninsuladaily news.com.

Tenor saxophone player Maria Powell is the featured soloist in Saturday’s Port Townsend Symphony concert. (photo by Karl Perry)

Tenor saxophone player Maria Powell is the featured soloist in Saturday’s Port Townsend Symphony concert. (photo by Karl Perry)

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