Outdoor performances outside St. Albert Place begin this Thursday August 5th.
It’s a week many St. Albert music fans have been waiting for after months of empty seats and dim lights. In a significant lift to restrictions on Prime Minister Jason Kenney’s roadmap, the Arden Theater is launching its first Plaza Series on Thursday, August 5.
The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, with a small but stellar roster, caters to a socially distant audience with a light classical repertoire. No longer performing only virtually, the 18 live musicians play the great success of Antonio Vivaldi 1720 – the whimsical Four Seasons.
This friendly open-air concert for violin and string orchestra depicts the seasons through the sounds of nature: flowing streams, songbirds, a shepherd and his barking dog, buzzing flies, storms, drunken dancers, hunting parties, frozen landscapes and a warm winter fires.
Opening the event is Volare Tenors, a new generation of classical music stars pioneering their unique blend of classics with a touch of pop, rock and jazz influences. Taylor Fawcett, Kaden Forsberg and Laren Steppler label the music “popera”.
“We embrace this title. We mainly sing and put our own twist on it. The three of us sing very loudly. For most tenors, their highest notes are our lowest, and we sing virtuoso arrangements. Many groups remain static. They sing the same arrangements. We are constantly changing our arrangements and creating a dynamic and engaging way to meet our voices, ”said Fawcett.
Steppler, a graduate of the Music Vocal Performance program at the University of Alberta, and Fawcett and Forsberg, both graduates of King’s University, formed the trio just over a year ago.
In choosing their name, the trio were inspired by the Gypsy Kings. Longtime admirers of the French flamenco-salsa-pop group, the trio recorded Volare, one of the songs of their mentors. During the recording, the trio learned that volare means “to fly” in Italian.
“We were looking for a verb for our name. When we found out [volare] meant ‘fly’, it became a cool symbol of what we wanted to do with our music, ”said Fawcett. “We wanted to sing big and beautiful lines. We wanted to give the audience a soaring feel with our chords and arrangements. ”
Their 40-minute playlist will include classic hits such as You raise Me Up, to newly recorded material, such as Despacito, a sensual Latin number full of summer vibe sung on pre-recorded backing tracks.
Tenors learn to maximize vocal output through breathing techniques that allow their voices to project into a room without damaging their vocal cords. Interestingly, Volare Tenors will be mic for the outdoor performance of the Plaza series.
“Microphones offer a little flexibility. We can produce a dynamic range or sing softly while being heard. We can better control our voices, ”said Fawcett.
For the past year, the trio have lived in different cities. Despite COVID-19 restrictions, they continued to record and film remotely. But nothing compares to the adrenaline rush of being on stage.
“We are very happy to share our music with St. Albert. We’re thrilled to go out in front of people and see faces, and we’re so grateful for the opportunity to play live. And we’re thrilled to be sharing the stage with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra.