Edmonton Symphony Orchestra: Midweek Classics

While I’ve known for a while about the existence of discounted programs created by local arts companies in an attempt to build loyalty in the 18-29 age group (whom they hope will become lifelong patrons), I hadn’t looked closely into it until this year. The Citadel has Club Friday (which is outrageously expensive, especially in the face of pay what you can Sundays), Edmonton Opera runs an Explorers’ Club (which I joined this year), and last but not least, the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra operates the Pulse8 Club.

Of the three, Pulse8 offers the best deal hands down – free to join, members can purchase up to two tickets to most of ESO’s concerts for $15 each. Best of all, when tickets are released to Pulse8 members, it is the best available seats that are up for grabs. Keeping in mind that gallery seats are regularly $42 each, this provides a great opportunity to inexpensively enjoy a night of music. One tip – if possible, buy the tickets in person, otherwise one ends up paying $4 more in service charges when ordering over the phone.

Another unexpected benefit of Pulse8 membership ended up being free tickets to the opening Midweek Classics concert that took place last night. Dickson and I were given terrace seats, not bad considering the tickets were complimentary to begin with.

As this was my first classical concert, I relied heavily on Dickson to explain to me why a conductor is necessary at all (sacrilege for those intimate with the orchestral workings), and had a juvenile laugh at the fact that the conductor’s right hand man is called the Concertmaster (anyone else think he should wear a sash of some kind?). I will say that it was a lovely sight to be able to see the synchronized bow movements of the stringed instruments, and the gradual addition of each section to the song as a whole. The music itself was nice, though to be entirely honest I haven’t been exposed to enough classical repetoire to really appreciate it. I am used to such music in a supporting role, and never as the end itself, so I think learning to appreciate such music for music’s sake will take time.

The real surprise of the night was ESO’s Music Director. Anyone who has seen William Eddins on stage will know that he is entertaining in his own right – I’ve never before encountered such an animated conductor. He actually physically left the ground a few times, and I was afraid some of his jerky arm movements would push him into a coronary. His comments between pieces and introductions of the featured musicians showed his charisma and humor, as well as his respect and passion for the music.

I am fortunate that I will be getting another opportunity to enjoy the symphony very soon – a few friends and I will be heading to the Robbins Pops celebration of John Williams’ 75th birthday this weekend.

One thought on “Edmonton Symphony Orchestra: Midweek Classics

  1. Now you know conductors are there to wake up any dozing audience by performing a karate chop! haha I think William Eddins would have been much more suited for tonight’s concert tribute to John Williams!

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