Weathering the storm with Symphony New Brunswick

Category: music 155

Symphony New Brunswick’s admirable adaptability has helped keep live performances on stages throughout the province during much of the COVID experience.  

Matt Carter
Andrew Miller of Symphony New Brunswick.

While several of the province’s performing arts organizations put all public performances on an indefinite hold during the pandemic, Symphony New Brunswick has done a remarkable job keeping musicians working and audiences entertained during the most trying of times. 

Amidst numerous postponements and reschedulings as New Brunswick weaves in and out of various levels of restriction and recovery, the musicians and supporting team behind the symphony’s activities have remained united in their collective belief that the show must go on. 

This month, SNB will tour music from the Harry Potter film series with, Harry Potter Flies In! featuring performances in Saint John, Fredericton and Moncton beginning April 23. 

“The upcoming Harry Potter show is one that I have been looking forward to for a couple of years,” said SNB General Manager Jennifer Grant. “This show was scheduled well before COVID and was originally meant to be produced with a larger orchestra and conducted by Lucas Waldin.”

As a testament to the symphony’s ability to adapt when necessary, the upcoming performance series will feature a smaller ensemble on stage, yet promises to provide audiences with a feast of entertainment. The shows planned for all three cities with feature actors Scott and Henry Thomas and Pippa Wennberg and a series of projected backdrops to help capture the spirit of the program’s magical theme.

When the series was initially conceived in 2019, Edmonton-based conductor/arranger Lucas Waldin was tasked to lead the show. Waldin was the music director for SNB’s highly popular 2019 performances with the genre-bending Indigenous composer/performer Jeremy Dutcher. But due to the quarantine requirements and the health risks currently associated with air travel, Waldin decided to bow out of these performances.

With Waldin unable to attend, the symphony then called upon the help of an old friend to see these performances through. It has now been confirmed that Sackville-based conductor Greg Burton will lead the symphony when Harry Potter Flies In! later this month.

“Greg Burton did not apply for the MD position but we know him very well,” said Grant. “He has conducted the symphony in the past and conducts regularly at Symphony Nova Scotia. He is in the province and he was willing to undertake this show.”

Currently a part-time lecturer at Mount Allison University, Burton brings a wealth of experience to the podium. He has held several roles throughout his music career including Music Director of the York Symphony Orchestra and the Halton-Mississauga Youth Orchestra. He was Director of Arts at Hillfield Strathallan College in Hamilton, Ontario for ten years and has also taught at the University of Toronto, McMaster University and Brandon University. 

Upcoming Performances:

April 23 | Imperial Theatre, Saint John
April 24 | Fredericton Playhouse
April 25 | Capitol Theatre, Moncton

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