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The Great Family Event TBSO


THUNDER BAY, ON   ------   December 16, 2012  ----   There are few non professional arts groups in the City that can afford to host a production at the Thunder Bay Daniel Bartholomew-PoyserCommunity Auditorium. One that I can think of is the Fort William Male  Choir which recently held its “Prelude to Christmas”.

The alternative for many groups is to form some sort of collaborative approach with organizations that do use the public auditorium. This was the case with the Christmas Pops concert on Saturday with Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser conducting the TBSO.

One of the reasons I attended this concert Christmas Pops concert on Saturday was  to see Dan Poyser direct the orchestra. He is the resident conductor of our orchestra and these positions are two year intern positions intended to increase the supply of Canadian grown conducting talent. Competition for these positions is fierce as there are only about two positions open nationally each year. There can be over 120 applications for each position, and the selected candidate will finally obtain a first conducting position with a real professional orchestra.

While working for a different music group I have come to know that Dan is one talented musician and I have seen him do everything but conduct. I arrived at intermission time since this programme was promoted as a family event it started an hour earlier. I met some TBSO musicians as I was making my way to my seat and I mentioned how important a concert such as this is to a resident conductor. Their reply was Dan was very busy doing everything else and conducting. This comment made perfect sense to me once the concert resumed.

The Holliday pops concert would be better billed as a show. There was the orchestra dressed in festive red and black, there was the Symphony chorus similarly attired behind them. There were three other groups on stage that night all taking part in a choreographed script that told a Christmas story through music, song and dance. Studio One Dance joined the performance in the first half of the show. The children of the Rafiki Youth choir sang a number of times during the performance accompanied by members of the orchestra. Interspersed between the musical items a Theatrical performance directed by Thunder Bay native Sheena Albanese played out a script that tied the entire evening together. Just imagine a TBSO performance with a plot.

This was a tremendously successful evening for Dan and the TBSO. The inclusion of community groups in this performance provided tremendous variety and it kept the audience interested from beginning to end. Also inviting guest groups often means their parents and grandparents will show up in the audience as well. Some of the people I spoke to were proud parents of children on stage that night. As I arrived late there were few parking spots available and at half time the Community Auditorium was very close to being sold out.

Resident conductors often do much of the work of orchestral preparation but are not offered major public concerts. This was an important success story for Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser and it will reflect well on his resume as he seeks work as a conductor in the future. This is the second season of his two year internship with the TBSO.

It is great witnessing the public support the TBSO receives at concerts such as this. The Pops Series is designed to get the public involved and attending live concerts. Every Pops Series concerts that I have attended have been well attended. Thunder Bay is a small market for any symphonic orchestra let alone a fully professional one. We are fortunate to have such a talented group of musicians earn their living through music in Thunder Bay.

Bert Rowson
Arts Editor:


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