Summer is approaching, and the Olympia Symphony Orchestra is in a mood to celebrate — “even though,” said conductor Huw Edwards, “the weather hasn’t been as optimistic as usual.”
“This is our last concert of the season,” Edwards said about Sunday’s concert with the theme “Summer Approaches.” “It comes after the clocks have changed and tax season, and the days are getting longer.”
The orchestra will salute all of that with a light and happy program, including Franz Joseph Haydn’s Trumpet Concerto in E-Flat Major, featuring soloist Ben Hodson, an 18-year-old senior at Olympia High School.
“The Trumpet Concerto by Haydn is very happy and upbeat,” Edwards said. “We’re lucky to have a very talented senior from Olympia High School to play it.”
Haydn wrote the concerto, which has three movements, in 1796 to showcase the capabilities of the keyed trumpet, the first trumpet with a set of valves that could play a broad range of notes and a precursor to the modern valve trumpet. Previous trumpets could play only a limited range of notes.
“It was the first trumpet concerto written for the valve trumpet,” said Hodson, who won the trumpet category of the 2016 Washington Music Educators Association’s State Solo and Ensemble Contest.
It’s been four years since the orchestra has featured a high school student as a soloist.
“It’s quite an honor,” Hodson said in a phone interview this week.
He won’t be playing only music by Haydn. He composed his own cadenza, a short solo passage at the end of the first movement that the composer left to the discretion of the soloist. “You’re allowed to play one that someone else has written,” Hodson said, “but I think it’s cooler if you write your own.”
Hodson, who plans to study music performance and business at Western Washington University, has been playing since he was 8 years old. He started on an old cornet he found at his grandmother’s house.
“Her son had played it in high school and left it there,” he said. “My mom wanted me to play a musical instrument, so I decided to try the cornet.”
Also on Sunday’s program are Gioachino Rossini’s “William Tell” Overture, Felix Mendelssohn’s “Scherzo” from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and Antonín Dvořák’s Slavonic Dances Opus 46.
Edwards described the overture as “buoyant” and “Scherzo” as “very light, very filigreed, and has a nice spring in its step.”
Dvořák based his “Slavonic Dances” on the melodies of traditional folk dances. “It’s glorious music,” Edwards said. “It takes great skill and finesse to play.
“It’s rare to have all eight performed together,” he added. “Some are fast; some are slow; some are very light; some are very dark. It’s like April showers and a summer storm amid the nice weather.”
In other words, it’s like Western Washington weather.
What: The Olympia Symphony Orchestra wraps up its season with a concert of mostly sunny selections, featuring a solo by trumpet player Ben Hodson, a senior at Olympia High School.
When: 7 p.m. Sunday.
Where: The Washington Center for the Performing Arts, 512 Washington St. SE, Olympia.