Russian melodies launch Sammamish Symphony Orchestra season

October 18, 2011

 R. Joseph Scott conducts the Sammamish Symphony Orchestra during rehearsal Oct. 13 at the Eastlake High School band room. By Christopher Huber

To some classical music connoisseurs, Rimsky-Korskoff’s “Capriccio Espagnole” will provide 15 minutes of harmonic bliss when the Sammamish Symphony Orchestra performs it this month.

“It’s 15 minutes of pure joy,” said Joseph Scott, the symphony’s longtime conductor and music director.

The orchestral piece features constant interplay between Concertmaster Dennis Helppie, of Sammamish, on violin, and the harpist and brass section. But it won’t be the only piece to look forward to at the symphony’s 2011 opening concert in Sammamish.

On Oct. 23, the symphony is rolling out the red carpet to celebrate its 20th year on the plateau. The group, which draws performers from 25 cities in King County, will perform “Russian Fireworks” at 2 p.m. at the Eastlake Performing Arts Center. The program will include a Rachmaninoff piano concerto, “Capriccio Espagnole, Op. 34” and Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture, Op. 49.”

“An organization needs to celebrate milestones,” Scott said. “It’s good to show off the orchestra and what we’re good at. It’s still not as much a household name as we would like it to be.”

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Issaquah ceremony offers chance to reflect on 9/11

September 6, 2011

“To me, it was one of the worst days in our nation’s history,” Eastside Fire & Rescue Deputy Chief Bud Backer said of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

But the way the country came together in the aftermath of those attacks can be pointed to as a source of pride, Backer added.

To mark the 10th anniversary of 9/11, the city of Issaquah, EFR, city police and other civic groups are joining in a public ceremony 1 p.m. Sept. 11 at the Issaquah Community Center.

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Issaquah Philharmonic conductor retires baton

August 30, 2011

As Duane Bowen conducted the band at Louisiana State University in the school’s fight song, the cymbal player sneezed and put a gash in his forehead requiring several stitches. Unforgettable moments like that have made maestro Bowen’s career as colorful as it is rich with passion for the art of music.

Duane Bowen holds a commemorative baton given to him by the Issaquah Philharmonic for his service to the group. By Quinn Eddy

At the Issaquah Philharmonic’s final concert of the season June 15 at Faith United Methodist Church, conductor Bowen, 81, announced his retirement from the group. Bowen had been conductor for 12 years.

“I’ve been at it awhile. My hearing isn’t as acute as I would like it to be — the curses of getting old,” Bowen said.

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Sammamish Symphony Orchestra to perform movie magic

August 2, 2011

If you go

POPs! Goes Issaquah

  • 7:30 p.m. Aug. 26
  • Village Theatre — Francis J. Gaudette Theatre
  • 303 Front St. N.
  • Free
  • Pick up tickets on a first-come, first-served basis at Rowley Properties, 1595 N.W. Gilman Blvd., Suite 1, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.

Listen as Sammamish Symphony Orchestra performers re-create magic moments from the silver screen at the POPs! Goes Issaquah concert Aug. 26.

The concert is free, due to support from longtime Issaquah developer Rowley Properties. POPs! Goes Issaquah is meant to support arts on the Eastside and open the arts to a broader audience.

For “Music From The Oscars – Award Winning Film Scores” — the theme for the upcoming concert — the Sammamish Symphony Orchestra and conductor R. Joseph Scott plan to offer pieces from memorable Hollywood films.

The guest performer for the 16th anniversary concert is Audrey Chen, the principal cellist in the Bellevue Youth Symphony Orchestra.

Chen is a rising sophomore at Interlake High School in Bellevue. She plays on a cello on loan from the Carlsen Cello Foundation.

Chen earned first place in the solo and concerto playoffs in the 2009 Performing Arts Festival of the Eastside — a showcase for young performers — and received the Overall Excellence award.

In addition, she also claimed first place at the 2011 Washington State Solo and Ensemble Competition and received the alternate prize in the junior division of the 2011 Music Teachers National Association Festival.

Legislators salvage funding for Issaquah arts programs

June 7, 2011

Shakespeare on the Green is due to return to the Issaquah Community Center next month — and the “Macbeth” performance is safe, after state legislators approved a last-minute measure to shore up funding for the King County cultural services agency, 4Culture.

In addition to Shakespeare on the Green — from the Seattle Shakespeare Co. — dollars from 4Culture fund dozens of other programs in the community. Overall, 4Culture allocated more than $50,000 to arts, cultural and heritage organizations in the Issaquah area for 2011. Some organizations, such as the Seattle Shakespeare Co., could not offer Issaquah programs without the funding.

City Arts Coordinator Amy Dukes said funding from 4Culture is important because dollars allotted through the Arts Sustained Support Program can be used for operating costs.

“That’s really hard funding to replace,” she said. “Most funders want their funding to go toward specific programming, so the fact that 4Culture gives out this funding that’s unrestricted is a huge benefit.”

Lawmakers passed the 4Culture legislation as the last bill before the special legislative session adjourned May 25.

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Plateau’s ‘best kept secret’ — Sammamish Symphony Orchestra — kicks off new season

February 22, 2011

On Thursday nights, Kathryn Boudreau-Stroud and Victoria Tkatch meet in a large, empty studio.

Somewhat dimly lit, the space slowly fills with more people and the room begins to hum with varying chords and notes.

Although Boudreau-Stroud is a math teacher and Tkatch is a ninth-grade student, the intent of their meeting is not for school purposes. Instead, they are there to play music together with the other musicians who comprise the Sammamish Symphony Orchestra.

The nonprofit, volunteer-based organization, originally known as the Providence Point Players, has been a staple on the plateau since 1994.

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Who’s News

February 8, 2011

CrossPath Counseling & Consultation gets new counselor

Wayne Dykstra

CrossPath Counseling & Consultation in Sammamish welcomes Wayne Dykstra MA, LMHC, to its counseling staff.

Dykstra is an experienced psychotherapist and holds a master’s degree in psychology from Seattle University. He has counseled youth and families regarding a wide variety of issues including family conflict, anxiety, depression and substance abuse.

In addition, he is a certified child and adolescent mental health specialist. He will be available by appointment, Monday to Saturday, at the CrossPath offices in Sammamish Commons Park, 550 222nd Place S.E., Sammamish.

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Sammamish Symphony starts new season

October 12, 2010

Before the start of every rehearsal and performance, oboist Dennis Calvin and Sammamish violinist Dennis Helppie play the A note to help the Sammamish Symphony Orchestra musicians tune their instruments.

Helppie and about 75 other musicians have rehearsed together since early September to prepare for the first of six performances for the 2010-11 season, a show titled “Famous Overtures.” Read more

Rowley’s 15th annual POPs! Goes Issaquah free concert is Aug. 27

August 24, 2010

If music brings people together, then free music must draw crowds. For the past 15 years, the Issaquah property management and development firm Rowley Properties has sponsored POPs! Goes Issaquah.

This year’s concert features the Sammamish Symphony Orchestra and conductor Joseph Scott. Trumpet player Natalie Dungey, 11, and young tenor singer Gregory Carroll are expected to perform.

Scott has participated in the free concert for the past 14 years. He said Skip Rowley contacted him to do a free concert for the community. What was supposed to be a one-time event has turned into an annual tradition. Read more

Pick up POPs! tickets soon

July 27, 2010

Catch a free pops concert in downtown Issaquah courtesy of Rowley Properties.

The developer and property management company presents the annual POPs! Goes Issaquah concert at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 27 at Village Theatre, 303 Front St. N. The free event features the Sammamish Symphony Orchestra and conductor R. Joseph Scott.

Pick up tickets at Rowley Properties, 1595 N.W. Gilman Blvd., Suite 1, starting July 30. Tickets will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. No reservations will be accepted. Pick up tickets between 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

For the 15th anniversary of the event, POPs! Goes Issaquah will have two guest performers: 11-year-old trumpet star Natalie Dungey and tenor Gregory Carroll.

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