It’s not too often the audience is encouraged to croon along at an orchestra’s concert, but not so with the next Okanagan Symphony Orchestra’s gig.
“Bring your singing voices, we have some great sing along songs like White Christmas, Hark the Herald Angles Sing and Noel. Also, you get to sing with Robert Fine, something you can put on your resume,” said Dennis Colpitts, guest conductor with the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra.
The Okanagan Symphony Orchestra shines the spotlight on a Kelowna favourite guest vocalist Robert Fine who will be singing holiday classics alongside the OSO. Colpitts, who traditionally performs with the OSO in the horn section, will be taking the podium to lead the orchestra for the holiday special. He has previously been a guest conductor when Michael Burgess and Natalie MacMaster performed with the OSO.
“It’s a big change in comfort level from being in the back row on the French horn and being part of the music to being the person responsible to putting it all together,” said Colpitts.
With a collection of music that Colpitts admits is some of his favourite, taking over the conductor duties makes it a little bit easier. Songs such as A Christmas Festival and Sleigh Ride by Leroy Anderson that he has conducted many times before with bands but not a full-on orchestra.
“It is going to be wonderful hearing it from an orchestra and I am so looking forward to being in front of them,” he said.
Colpitts added having Fine as a soloist and the audience encouraged to join in on sing-alongs will make for a memorable evening.
“I’m especially excited for Mannheim Steamroller Stille Nocht. There is this feeling that comes over a room when Silent Night is performed or sung. It is a wonderful sense of calm and this piece has a gorgeous arrangement,” said Colpitts. “It also helps my wife is the piano player and I know she will do a great job.”
Colpitts added that the OSO Christmas concert is very well attended up and down the valley.
“Christmas is when we make memories or are remembering our memories. You may be making a new one bringing a child to a concert or remembering a concert you have been to. They are the familiar tunes that no one gets tired of and they bring such joy because they are festive pieces.”
Fine has been keeping the big band legacy alive since 1999. It was in that year that he won a Frank Sinatra singing contest in Atlantic City performing timeless classics. He has been featured on CBC’s Basic Black with Arthur Black.
Fine has had the opportunity to sing all over the world including performances at the World Exposition in Japan, various corporate events in Germany, Jamaica, across the United States and Canada. He has had the pleasure of singing at the PNE in Vancouver with Dal Richards and his orchestra and has previously sung with the OSO. He has recorded five CD’s, including a live concert performance with the swinging 14-piece Dreamland Band, which was released December of 2008 with all proceeds going to the BC Cancer Foundation. His five CD’s have raised over $50,000 for local charities.
An OSO Christmas opens Dec. 18 at the Cleland Theatre in Penticton at 7:30 p.m..
“For our annual Christmas performance, we put the OSO front and centre to play all of your seasonal favourites,” said Rosemary Thomson, music director, Okanagan Symphony Orchestra. “This show is a great performance for audiences of all ages, and features local artist Robert Fine who will show off his ‘inner crooner’ with the wonderful standards White Christmas and The Christmas Song; this is a concert that will most definitely have you leaving in the Christmas spirit.”
Tickets for concerts in Penticton are available by phone 250-862-2867 or online via www.okanagansymphony.com.