Mandy McKee will be joining the RDSO for two videotaped performances. (Contributed photo)

Mandy McKee will be joining the RDSO for two videotaped performances. (Contributed photo)

No live RDSO concerts in Red Deer this fall, but online musical entertainment continues

The state of the pandemic will be assessed again in the New Year, says music director

The Red Deer Symphony Orchestra is pushing back live performances until after the New Year, when the state of the pandemic can be re-assessed.

“Everything we do right now is very provisional,” said music director Claude Lapalme — which means all plans hang on COVID numbers.

Right now, Alberta now has the most per capital cases in the country. The symphony’s board has determined that, while limiting seating in the Red Deer Polytechnic Arts Centre is needed, it would not be financially feasible for the RDSO to play to a smaller crowd, said Lapalme.

“We cannot afford to have limited audience right now,” he added, therefore, more online entertainment is planned until live performances again be held.

The RDSO is getting by on grants — including some for virtual performances.

At the end of this week, Playing With Pride, a new video concert, will be added to the series on the RDSO website.

The performance of Poulenc’s Sonata for Horn, Trumpet and Trombone was supposed to be released during Pride Week last month, but producers ran into technical difficulties, said Lapalme. He expects it to be up on the website by Friday.

Lapalme looks forward to unveiling this virtuosic performance by RDSO brass players in celebration of the LGBTQ community. Their issues are close to Lapalme’s heart because he grew up with a gay brother, who died at the age of 42 from a rare cancer.

The Poulenc Sonata was chosen because the French composer was open as one could be in the 1920s and ’30s about his homosexuality, said the music director. “It was very well known at the time…”

Poulnec, who once stated “My music is my portrait,” also said something along the lines of: “I am French in my love life and Catholic in my spiritual life,” said Lapalme, with a chuckle.

The following online concert, Three Short Pieces io uplifting music by Jacques Hebert, is planned to be released to the RDSO website later in September.

Meanwhile, several larger-scale projects are also underway.

Lapalme said Wandering With Wonder will be a multi-disciplinary online experience, expected to be posted this fall. The videotaped show will include RDSO musicians collaborating with dancers and First Nations artists. “It’s the story of a journey, told with multi-media,” said Lapalme, who’s providing orchestrations for the score.

The RDSO will also team up with former Red Deerian and Olds resident Mandy McKee for a video-taped reprise of R. Murray Schafer’s Beauty and the Beast. It will be done as a one-woman show with the talented singer and actress providing vocals as the musicians perform.

Lapalme said he also plans for McKee to narrate Igor Stravinsky’s A Soldier’s Tale as it is performed by the RDSO.

Music lovers can check out the RDSO website for these online performances later this fall. And Lapalme said he will meanwhile keep looking for opportunities to perform smaller live community concerts.

Live music