Orchestra returns for annual family concert

The Sonoma State University Symphonic Orchestra is kicking off their second semester season this week with their annual family and friends concert.

“Picture This!” is a family-friendly concert that will be held Sunday, March 3rd at 2 p.m. at Weill Hall. This is an annual concert, where the Sonoma State Symphonic Orchestra will play songs for the whole family to enjoy.

Bassoonist Stephen Fratallone rehearsing with the Sonoma State University Symphonic Orchestra for this Sunday’s concert “Picture This!” STAR // Kayla Allen

Bassoonist Stephen Fratallone rehearsing with the Sonoma State University Symphonic Orchestra for this Sunday’s concert “Picture This!” STAR // Kayla Allen

“The orchestra plays more fun and interactive pieces, last time we played pieces from movies like ‘Harry Potter,’ ‘How To Train Your Dragon,’ and ‘Moana,’” said cellist Ryan Toulouse. 

This will be the third concert for the Symphonic Orchestra in their 2018-19 season.

The concert is different from the orchestra’s usual performances which generally includes classical music. 

It will be a multi-display which includes artwork created by students from the North Bay, which will be on display as the orchestra plays each piece. 

“Our first piece is titled ‘Pictures at an Exhibition’ by Mussorgsky and our second piece is titled ‘La Osa y la Amapola’ written by Sonoma State’s own AJ Gonzales,” said tuba player Cameron Shellnut. 

Gonzales is a student composer and won the 2018 Sonoma State Student Composition Competition with his piece “La Osa y la Amapola,” this will be a world premiere for his piece. 

“La Osa y la Amapola,” translating to “the bear and the poppy,” was inspired by the recent Sonoma County Tubbs Fire. 

The Sonoma State Department of Music website states, “The emotionally riveting orchestral tone poem deals with the devastation of the recent spate of wildfires in California and concludes with a note of hope for the future.”

Shellnut will have a tuba solo in “Pictures at an Exhibition” that he describes as rare for this piece. 

“Our growing brass section is probably the most exciting thing our Orchestra brings to the table” said Shellnut. 

Shellnut mentions that this concert is a rare chance to see a saxophone and euphonium in an orchestral setting. 

The Sonoma State Orchestra started four years ago and has been under the direction of Dr. Alexander Kahn. 

The Symphonic Orchestra is comprised of string, wind, brass, and percussion performing an array of orchestral literature, ranging from the Baroque period to world premieres and from classical repertoire to film, opera and educational works.

“The Symphonic Orchestra started four years ago, so many of the performers who have been with the Orchestra since it started will be graduating at the end of this semester” said violinist Caleb Forschen.

 The Symphonic Orchestra has two to four concerts a year in Weill Hall. They also tour around California and occasionally out of state to perform throughout the year. 

The orchestra will also be ending this year’s season with their season finale titled “Thematic Transformations” will be performed on April 27 at 7:30 p.m.

Sunday’s concert will be unique with the integration and focus on art throughout the performance. 

Following the concert their will be an art-making session led by Dianne Aoki. Tickets are sold online for $8 and free to Sonoma State students.