Green Bay Orchestra finds revival in famous works

FROM FATHER, Wisconsin (WFRV) – The essence of live performance was evoked and displayed as the Green Bay Civic Symphony presented the first concert of its 2021 season on Saturday night.

Due to St. Norbert College’s COVID-19 protocols, masks were required from the audience at the Walter Theater at the Abbot Pennings Hall of Fine Arts.

Due to new possibilities due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the concert was broadcast live to homes (or elsewhere).

Seong-Kyung Graham started his 17e year as conductor and artistic director conducting the orchestra in a performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner”, a traditional seasonal opening for many orchestras.

From there popular and lustrous works flocked. It was a sweet concert with some interesting moments.

+ Guest artist / violinist Samantha George playing music with orchestra cellist Ryan Louie in the “Winter” section of Antonio Vivaldi’s beloved “The Four Seasons”.

Samantha George is an avid professional performer and teacher (Lawrence University to Appleton), and Ryan Louie is also a member of the Griffon String Quartet in that region. Their musical back-and-forth resembled a figure skating spectacle at the Olympics – sparkling with tight curves on the ice. Two of Ryan Louie’s Griffon String Quartet colleagues also play in the orchestra, joining a mix of skilled musicians from the community.

+ Notes on the survival of the organization.

It has been a DIFFICULT time for the performing arts, and performing co-chair Dan Marbes praised how this orchestra “discovered passion and resilience within the organization”.

+ A long train in motion.

Saturday’s concert was the first in 595 days for the orchestra, Dan Marbes said.

Imagine a level crossing and sitting in a car watching a 595 car train go by. It’s the same kind of feeling, only worse, for performing arts people.

+ A new place.

Walter Theater is a new performance space for the organization. The orchestra will return there two more times this season.

It may be comfortable on stage for a full orchestra, but the hall is designed for fine art performances.

+ The need to live.

Host Paul Oleksy highlighted the aura that live performance creates for listening – which is more than listening.

He compared it to a walk in the woods. It is an experience impossible to recreate. You can only see, hear and feel things if you are walking in the woods… or at a concert, he said.

It’s the opening seconds of Aaron Copland’s hugely popular “Fanfare for the Common Man” with the explosion of percussion that shakes your brain to excitement, followed by dramatic trumpet drama. Paul Oleksy said he had chills down his spine. Indeed.

It’s Samantha George, in the middle of the beloved “The Four Seasons,” looking up and playing beautifully as if the notes were vapors in the air.

It’s Samantha George, as the work’s conductor, as she slips into solo violin Audrey Nowak to refine the right coordinated notes that the two must play for the right result.

It’s not the recordings thing. This is the fun and the fascination of live – why orchestral concerts exist.

You can feel the diverse majesty of “Appalachian Spring” or the exhilarating vitality of “The Four Seasons” – in this case, very very well played.

+ A fresh treat.

The only work on the program that did not come from the golden phalanx of classical music popularity was Eric Whitacre’s “October”, chosen to embrace the season and the month.

It flows with grace and beauty – natural wonders in notes.

+ Exit.

My thinking is, “It was wonderful – to hear those classics again because they were meant to be heard and played by motivated musicians. “


Program: “Fall for all”

Driver: Seong Kyung Graham

Host: Paul Oleksy

Guest artist: Samantha George, violin

Part i

“The Star Spangled Banner”

“Marching Band for the Common Man” – Aaron Copland

“Appalachian Spring: Suite for 13 Instruments” – Aaron Copland

Part II

“Autumn” from “The Four Seasons” – Antonio Vivaldi

Samantha George, violin


Adagio molto


“Winter” from “The Four Seasons” – Antonio Vivaldi

Samantha George, violin

Allegro non molto




Orchestra (season)

+ First violin: Audrey Nowak, first violin; Charlotte Bogda, Chris Williams, Diane Wallace, TJ Lutz, Samuel Bieneman, Anatole Wiering, Natalie Sturicz-Heiges

+ Second violin: Ji-Yeon Lee, solo; Claire Sternkopf, Patricia Wilson, Hannah Loveless, Barbara Akins, Mary Beth Williams, John Kolar

+ Viola: Blakeley Menghini, solo; Cyndee Giebler, Jill Vickers, Karin Barth, Kaleb Kohlmeyer, Caitlin Kirchner, Rebecca Proefrock

+ Cello: Ryan Louie, solo; Adam Korber, James Wagner, Steve Born, David Giebler, Mary Kozak, Leslie Unger

+ Bass: Lee Klemens, solo; Jane Kanestrom, James Wilke, Amy Warmenhoven

+ Flute: Rose Van Himbergen, solo

+ Clarinet: Timberly Kazmarek Marbes, solo

+ Bassoon: Rachel Richards, solo

+ Cor: William Klumb, principal; Barbara Fondow, Andrew Parks, Lisa Niermann

+ Trumpet: Dan Marbes, solo; Carisa Lueck, Adam Gaines

+ Trombone: William Burroughs, solo; Doak Baker, Tim Kiefer

+ Tuba: Tim Kozlovsky

+ Harpsichord: David Giebler

+ Piano: Lauren Pritzl

+ Percussions: Mindy Popke, solo; Aiden Trinker, Lauren Pritzl


FOLLOWING: “Classics for the Community,” in person and broadcast live, 3 p.m. Nov. 14, at the Green Bay Community Church.

THE PLACE: The 724-seat Byron L. Walter Theater has a proscenium stage (flat face). Its walls are textured concrete blocks laid in the shape of a wave. The ceiling includes white acoustic clouds. The seating material and carpet are traditional theater red. The theater is located in the Abbot Pennings Hall of Fine Arts at St. Norbert College in De Pere. It is the larger of the building’s two theaters, the core of which was constructed in 1955. In 1989, the Walter Theater was renovated to improve the lobby and interior aesthetics, adding seating and improving acoustics. .

THE PERSON: Byron L. Walter (1877-1954) was a businessman. He ran Green Bay Hardware, Inc. until his retirement in 1953. Walter was a co-founder of Paper Converting Machine Co. and was for a time president. After his death, the Byron L. Walter Family Trust was established and made the theater possible. The trust continues to make significant contributions to community projects and institutions.

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