May 30, 2024

Arms swung vigorously across the empty space between each stringed instrument, never for the audience to predict. Row on row of heads, eagerly following their direction on both sides of the podium. No, this isn’t a sports commentary track, it’s the latest show from the KitchenerWaterloo Symphony (KWS)

The ‘Darkness and Light‘ show, curated and conducted by Andrei Feher and performed by the KWS and ‘The Elora Singers,’ aimed to display a late composer’s work in both a dark and uplifting light.

The inside of the Harcourt Memorial United Church before the show (Spoke Online/Devin Shubaly.)

The venue was the Harcourt Memorial United Church in Guelph, being the second of three churches where the event was performed. The first show on March 9 in Waterloo at the First United Church had tickets sold out days prior, exemplifying the excitement for the return of full capacity events. 

“While it may be simple on paper, the piece goes a long way,” said Feher before the beginning of ‘Sabat Mater.’ The musical setting was created by Giovanni Battista Pergolesi in the year 1736, the same year of his death at the age of 26 from tuberculosis. 

A portrait of Andrei Feher, retrieved from The Royal Conservatory.

The musical setting, taking up roughly half of the show, featured both the stringed instruments of the KWS in combination with the vocalists, who took an operatic approach to accompany the violins and cellos.

“I enjoyed it quite a bit. The singers were a nice addition,” said Andrew Hallman. He had attended the event with his father, one of the visibly few young people to attend the show. 

Feher ended the evening with a ‘masterpiece’ of a composition, ‘Souvenir de Florence’ by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. If Sabat Mater was made up of musical hills and valleys, the later piece could be described as an adrenaline rush of sound. 

For all the light that a performance may bring, the darkness of times past will still haunt your experience of getting into a KWS event. The vaccine passport system and masking were still required, even for all members of the symphony.

The last show by the KWS has taken place, but the symphony still has shows coming up later this month. ‘Tantalizing Tangos’ and ‘Rhythm and Dance’ are slated for March 25 and 26, with tickets available for mail order.

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