Arts & Culture

Orchestras bring in local artists

The Olympia Symphony Orchestra and the Olympia Chamber Orchestra have mor e in common than flutes, violas and trumpets; they both do their part to reach out to the local arts scene.

Both will showcase local artists during their upcoming season, whether featuring soloists - such as the winner of the OCO's upcoming piano competition, who will perform March 1 - or collaborating with area groups such as Harlequin Productions, as the Olympia Symphony will do at its Oct. 7 concert. That performance is devoted to music inspired by Shakespeare, including pieces by Verdi and Mendelssohn, and each piece on the program will be preceded by a snippet from the original Shakespeare play, presented by Harlequin actors.

The symphony's Nov. 11 performance features the music of Elgar, Grieg, Hummel and Sibelius, and the next month marks the annual "Sing with the Symphony" event, with carol-lovers of all ages invited to the Dec. 2 sing-along.

Liszt, Malcolm Arnold and Tchaikovsky are on the Feb. 10 concert, and on March 16, the symphony will perform Beethoven's Symphony No. 4 and Haydn's "Lord Nelson Mass," the latter in conjunction with the Olympia Choral Society. Rounding out the year is an April 27 concert devoted to the seasons, with music by Vivaldi, Dvorak, Johann Strauss and Don Womack.

Olympia Chamber Orchestra leads off its season Oct. 20 with a selection in keeping with the Halloween season, including the familiar "Funeral March of a Marionette" by Gounod (even if you don't know the title, you'll likely recognize the music) and works by Sibelius, Ravel, Grieg and more.

Dec. 15 is the orchestra's all-Beethoven concert, featuring an orchestral arrangement of the "Moonlight Sonata" and his Symphony No. 6. On March 1, the group teams up with the choruses of Opera Pacifica, Saint Martin's University and South Puget Sound Community College for a performance of Puccini's "Gloria," along with music by Arriaga and more Beethoven.

And closing the season is a May 3 concert including Copland's "Quiet City," Strauss' "Wine, Women and Song" waltz, a Duke Ellington medley, and a jazz set from conductor Claudia Simpson-Jones and pianist Joe Baque.

"We consciously try and support all of the arts community," said Olympia Chamber Orchestra clarinetist Derek Basham, who serves as the all-volunteer group's treasurer and business manager. "You need a wide diversity."

More information

Olympia Chamber Orchestra: 360-866-7617 or

Olympia Symphony Orchestra: 360-753-0074 or