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Orchid Isle Orchestra celebrates simple gifts during holiday concert

  • Courtesy photo From left, eight of the 25 performers for Orchid Isle Orchestra’s concert on Dec. 16: Kevin Li, Hope Mikkelsen, Elizabeth Young, Ina Klasner, Lilyana Badgley, Lichen Forster and teachers Cathy Young and Mark Caudill.

Orchid Isle Orchestra will present its annual holiday concert at 4 p.m. Dec. 16 at the East Hawaii Cultural Center in Hilo.

OIO will present “Something Simple” for the holidays, which will include pieces from Benjamin Britten’s “Simple Symphony,” the Beatles’ “Something,” “Simple Gifts,” plus music from Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto IV and Corelli’s Christmas Concerto.

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Britten wrote four movements, all with alliterating titles for string orchestra: “Boisterous Bourrée,” “Playful Pizzicato” (plucking the strings), “Sentimental Saraband” and “Frolicsome Finale.” “Something” and “Simple Gifts” are arrangements for string orchestra by OIO artistic director Cathy Young and Renata Bratt, respectively.

Featured soloists in the first movement of the Bach Brandenburg IV are flutists Susanella Noble, Cheryl Shine and violinist Young. The three women have played together in the Kamuela Philharmonic Orchestra for more than a decade.

This will be Noble’s, Shine’s and Young’s first performances with OIO.

Noble is a graduate of the University of Denver. She studied flute with master teachers/flutists in France and toured the country, but is happy to perform, teach and arrange music here in Hawaii.

Shine started flute lessons as a public elementary school student in Connecticut. Despite her love of music, as an adult she didn’t play much for many years until she took up lessons again with Noble.

Young founded OIO in 2006. She teaches privately and in group classes, where students learn violin, viola, cello and piano. Her two children learned to play violin, and continue to contribute to OIO when available. Young’s students will be featured throughout the concert.

Corelli Concerto soloists are OIO violinists Jeanette Gilbert and Mark Caudill and cellist Ina Klasner.

This year marks Gilbert’s third year performing with OIO. She studied violin from fourth grade through high school in Chicago.

“I am grateful to Cathy Young for encouraging me to get back to my violin and for challenging my musical comfort levels,” Gilbert says. “The last time I played classical music seriously was in high school.”

Caudill grew up in the Boston area, learning to play his grandmother’s violin in youth orchestra. He studied fiddling with Jon Singleton in Charlotte, N.C., toured for five years with the band Cantiga and now teaches math and physics at St. Joseph School in Hilo.

Klasner is a senior at Hilo High School. She studies cello at Young Music Studio and is in her sixth year. She recently auditioned and was invited to perform with the Hawaii All-State Orchestra. The orchestra will meet on Oahu for a weekend and perform a concert on Jan. 20, 2019.

The OIO concert starts with “pre-orchestra” music by Bach, Carl Maria von Weber, Handel and Seitz. At the end, audience members are invited to sing along while OIO accompanies you in some holiday favorites. Walter Greenwood and Cathy Young conduct.

The concert is free; donations will benefit Orchid Isle Orchestra, East Hawaii Cultural Center and more string music education.

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For additional information, call Young at 982-9307.

East Hawaii Cultural Center is located at 141 Kalakaua St. in Hilo.