Roy Tan and Rosemary Siemens (aka Roy and Rosemary) will be front and centre as they perform throughout the CSO’s season premiere, Magical Night, at First Avenue Christian Assembly on Oct. 14. (Submitted photo)

Chilliwack Symphony Orchestra season begins Oct. 14

Roy and Rosemary take to the stage as they kick off the CSO’s 2017/18 season

It’ll be a magical evening of music as the Chilliwack Symphony Orchestra and Chorus kicks off its 2017/18 concert season with a young violin-piano duo on Oct. 14.

Roy Tan and Rosemary Siemens (aka Roy and Rosemary) will be front and centre as they perform throughout the CSO’s season premiere, Magical Night, at First Avenue Christian Assembly.

Tan is a pianist, composer and arranger. Siemens will singing and playing violin — specifically, a 300-year-old instrument once played in King Louis XIV’s orchestra.

“I’ve never heard her perform live, but I’ve seen enough video to know she’s the real deal,” says CSO conductor, Paula DeWit.

She’s impressed with Tan as well, who plays very fast notes for some of his piano arrangement.

“He’s fabulous. Amazing,” she adds.

Roy and Rosemary’s performance will deliver Hollywood’s beloved cinematic instrumental songs to the concert stage. Favourites we all know and love from yesterday and today will be heard, including Over the Rainbow, Ave Maria, and Moon River.

She describes the music they make as “passionate, visceral, and from the heart.”

“It’s not sophisticated, it’s real. That’s what we really want to drive home is that anyone can go and love this concert. You’re going to be getting music that you hear all the time, Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah for one, and a bunch of different medleys with different pieces in the medley. The arrangements are huge — fully orchestrated,” says DeWit.

Roy and Rosemary will be backed up by the CSO throughout the night, but they will also perform a handful of songs together without the orchestra. The Chilliwack Children’s Choir will be singing as well. You can hear them during Hallelujah and How Great Thou Art.

Currently based in Vancouver, Roy and Rosemary first met while accompanying The Canadian Tenors. The realization they were musically in sync with each other led them in 2012 to create their unique genre of piano and violin pop duo with orchestra, and with extensive touring, they have quickly developed a most impressive performance pedigree.

Their numerous concerts have been well-received all around the world and include the well-known venues of Carnegie Hall, and in 2016, St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican where they had the opportunity to perform a piece they had composed themselves.

Comfortable with both classical and pop music, they both have remarkable improvisational talents and perfect pitch. They have released two albums: Once Upon a Dream and A Timeless Christmas (with Mary Zilba) and one single: Kiss the Rain.

“There’s a couple of gospel numbers because I know that Rosemary has a strong Christian following as well, so we want to let them come and enjoy some gospel music as well,” says DeWit.

A popular feature of Roy and Rosemary’s shows is their practice of taking requests from the audience, often even learning and arranging unfamiliar tunes instantly, inviting the audience to be a part of the show and a key ingredient in the creative process.

People have the opinion that the symphony is “too highbrow,” says DeWit.

“No, it’s not too highbrow. It’s too amazing. It’s not what people think it is — it’s so accessible. You go to a movie, and what’s playing in the background? Orchestras. When you hear a sad part in a movie, it’s a violin crying.”

“I always want to keep everything at a high quality, and I want to keep raising the bar, and I want Chilliwack to experience what Vancouver experiences,” she says. “You don’t have to go to Vancouver to get high-quality, you have it right here in the community.”

The CSO’s Magical Night is at First Avenue Christian Assembly (46510 First Ave.) on Saturday, Oct. 14 at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets: $15/discount seats, $20/general, $30 dress circle. Tickets available at King’s Music (45450 Luckakuck Way), online at chilliwacksymphony.com, at the CSO box office by phoning 604-795-0521, or in person at the door.


 

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jenna.hauck@theprogress.com

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