Director Norman Nelson. (photo contributed)

Sooke Philharmonic’s 20th anniversary season features West Shore performances

‘We have much to celebrate,’ says music director Norman Nelson

The 2017-18 season marks the 20th anniversary of the Sooke Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus, and it plans to celebrate in a big way with a number of performances on the West Shore.

“We have much to celebrate. Such longevity is a tribute to the remarkable dedication of our musicians to create wonderful music and to the community that has given its support over the years,” said Norman Nelson, SPO music director.

Nelson has planned an exceptional series of concerts and musical events to mark the anniversary and is inviting anyone who appreciates classical music to join in the celebration.

The season opens Oct. 28 and 29 with works by Beethoven and Elgar and features the talented winner of the 2017 Don Chrysler Concerto Concert Competition, Sophie van der Sloot, playing Elgar’s Cello Concerto. The second show is at the Teechamista Theatre in Royal Bay Secondary, 3500 Ryder Hesjedal Way, and gets under way at 2:30. It follows a 7:30 p.m. performance at the Sooke Community Hall the night before.

On Dec. 2 and 3, the Sooke Philharmonic Chorus joins the Sooke Philharmonic Chamber Players for a Continental Christmas, conducted by choral director Nicholas Fairbank. The festive program includes renditions of Vivaldi’s Gloria, Charpentier’s Messe de Minuit pour Noel and arrangements of familiar carols. Again the second performance takes place in Colwood at the Tecchamista Theatre at 2:30 p.m.

The popular annual Tea and Symphony afternoon is scheduled for Feb. 4 in Sooke. The chorus and chamber players meet again on April 7 and 8 for A Royal Feast, including Mozart’s Coronation Mass and Handel’s Coronation Anthems. On June 16 and 17, the orchestra presents A Summer Symphony under the direction of music conductor Yariv Aloni. Richard Strauss’s famous Oboe Concerto, performed by Russell Bajer, will highlight this program. The season ends July 8 with the traditional Philharmonic Fling! – a free open-air family concert conducted by Michael Klazek.

In 1997, Nelson was the driving force behind the creation of the Sooke Philharmonic Orchestra. Since its inception, the orchestra has grown in size and virtuosity, added the Sooke Philharmonic Chorus, and extended its season from one to five annual concerts. For more information go to or email

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