Sounds celebrate summer: Kenai Peninsula Orchestra kicks-off its concert series

Posted: Thursday, July 30, 2009

The rhythmic beating of a honeybee's wings as it moves from fireweed flowers, the pitter-patter of rain falling on a tin roof, and the splashing of salmon jumping up the river aren't the only sounds of summer. The Kenai Peninsula Orchestra's summer musical festival has returned once again to offer a wide variety of performances.

Photo By Peter C. Norton
Photo By Peter C. Norton
Left to right, Mark Wolbers, professor of music, University of Alaska Anchorage; Bob Richardson, professor of music, Grays Harbor College, Aberdeen, Wash., and founding conductor of Kenai Peninsula Orchestra; Gary Stroutsos, world flutist are shown in this Aug. 5, 2007, photo greeting the audience arriving on the Rainbow Connection, coming to Tutka Bay Wilderness Lodge to hear the Champagne, Chocolate, and Chopin concert performed by the Southwest String Quartet.

"Things have just started, but the best is yet to come," said Tammy Vollom-Matturro, KPO's artistic director/conductor.

The KPO is currently presenting free midday concerts as part of their "Noontime Tunes" luncheon concert series.

"We'll play everyday for the next two weeks," Vollom-Matturro said.

Locally, KPO members will be playing at the Kenai Visitor's Center today and at Froso's on Friday, and next week at Charlotte's in Soldotna on Monday, Kaladi Brothers on Kobuk Street on Tuesday, Soldotna Public Library on Wednesday, Sockeye's Restaurant in Kenai Landing on Thursday, and the Kenai Visitor's Center on Friday. Their will be several Homer presentations as well.

"This Friday night we'll also have a chamber music concert, presented by the Madison String Quartet," Vollom-Matturro said.

The local performance by this group will be at Christ Lutheran Church in Soldotna this Friday at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $15, $12 for youths and seniors, and $10 for Raven's Club members.

"Then, this Sunday, the boat leaves Homer to travel across Kachemak Bay to the beautiful Tutka Bay Lodge for our outdoor concert, set to the backdrop of some amazing Alaskan scenery," Vollom-Matturro.

This concert, titled "Champage, Chocolate and Chopin a la Tutka," is a combination of chamber music and a feast of fine food. The boat to the lodge leaves the Homer dock at 6 p.m., and there is a large tent that will be erected should the weather turn inclement. Tickets for this presentation are $100.

Next weekend, the KPO summer concert series culminates with a gala concert titled "Around the World in 88 Keys," which will feature as the soloist, Kenai's own Maria Allison.

"Maria will be performing the Grieg piano concerto in A minor, otherwise known as the 'Norwegian Concerto'," Vollom-Matturro said.

Along with Allison's performance, the KPO will also play several other "around the world" pieces, starting with the all-brass fanfare "La Peri" by Paul Dukas. This will be followed by Brahm's "Hungarian Dances," numbers 1, 3, 10 and the most popular 5.

"Opening the second half, we visit Italy with Mendelssohn's 'Italian Symphony,' or Symphony No. 4," Vollom-Matturro said, and explained this piece consists of four contrasting movements: an allegro 6/8, a slow movement, a 3/4 waltz and a presto which is sure to give the entire orchestra a workout.

"Ending the concert, we head to Latin America and perform "Danzon No. 2" by Arturo Marquez," Vollom-Matturro said, and explained this piece as at times being melodic and lightly orchestrated, and at others times being rhythmic and danceable.

The gala concert will first be at the Homer Mariner Theater on Friday, Aug. 7 at 7:30 p.m., and will be locally at the Renee C. Henderson Auditorium in Kenai on Saturday, Aug. 8 at 7:30 p.m.

Both performances will feature a pre-concert lecture at 6:45 p.m. Admission to the gala is $15, $12 for youths and seniors, and $10 for Raven's Club members.

For more detailed information on the upcoming KPO performances, or for additional dates and times of presentations in Homer , visit the KPO's Web site at or call Vollom-Matturro at 283-0781.

Joseph Robertia can be reached at

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