International Symphony provides ‘wonderful’ experience

Voices of Spring included works by Strauss Jr., Brahms, Haydn and Chabrier; upcoming 'Portraits' on tap

The International Symphony Orchestra, with conductor Douglas Bianchi performing Voices of Spring Waltz by Johann Strauss Jr. Photo by Madison Taylor.

This past weekend, both Sarnia and Clyde Township experienced a wonderful performance of music by the International Symphony Orchestra and the International Symphony Singers in their production of Voices of Spring.

Works of Strauss Jr., Brahms, Haydn, Chabrier, and the International Symphony’s own composer, M. Douglass were included in this musical experience.

The International Symphony Orchestra was formed in 1957 as a result of combining the Port Huron String Ensemble and the Little Orchestra Society of Sarnia. In 1984, the International Symphony Singers joined the group, providing oratorio, opera, Broadway, and musical theatre to the orchestra. After a period of 14 years, conductor Jerome Summers passed on his responsibilities to the present conductor, Douglas Bianchi.

The International Symphony Orchestra is made up by many talented musicians. Some of the instruments used in the performance include violins, violas, flutes, a piccolo, oboes, clarinets, bassoons, horns, trumpets, trombones, cellos, a tuba, bass, piano, harp, and percussion. The musicians practiced long and hard to give a stunning performance to the audience, which resulted in positive feedback.

Opera singer Emily Douglass performed with the orchestra’s talented musicians, creating an unforgettable piece of music. Her husband, Mark Douglass, composed the music she performed, Karegnondi Songs, which means Lake Huron Songs in the Wyandot language, which is connected with the Iroquois.

Emily Douglass has amazed audiences of Europe and America with her beautiful, intense voice. Birmingham News has reviewed her as “easily filling the audience with stylish and emotive coloratura singing,” while the Dallas Morning News reviewed her as “powerful and winsome.” Overall she captures the audience’s attention in any venue she performs.

The International Symphony Singers also made an appearance for Brahm’s Nänie, a funeral song dedicated to Friedrich Schiller’s poem Nänie. Nänie was composed in 1881 in memory of Brahm’s dear friend, Anslem Feuerback. The first line of the German poem “Auch das Schöne muß sterben” is translated to “Even the beautiful must die.”

If you enjoy the music of a live orchestra but missed the opportunity to hear Voices of Spring, there’s a second chance upcoming as the ISO performs on April 30, 2016 at McMorran Theatre in Port Huron and on May 1, 2016 at the Imperial Theatre in Sarnia.

Portraits include works by Couperin, Mussorgsky, Smetena, Somers, and Strauss to paint poignant images in the audience’s mind and heart as well as to touch the soul.

(The International Symphony Orchestra with conductor Douglas Bianchi performing Voices of Spring Waltz by Johann Strauss Jr)

(Mark Douglass talking about his inspiration for his piece, Karegnondi “Lake Huron” Songs)

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