“Classical music is not dead”. That’s the thought that came to mind when I arrived at Deer Lake Park in Burnaby on July 14 for the 25th Annual Symphony in the Park featuring the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.
I was shocked at HOW MANY people there were at the park (estimated 10,000!). The tourist board of Burnaby were not kidding with this: “Be sure to come early, bring a blanket, pack a picnic and settle in for a wonderful evening with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra”. And what a diverse group – young, old, families, teens!
I also unfortunately did not read: “Please note that parking in the vicinity is limited, so alternate transportation is recommended.” This meant I wasted 15 minutes in a futile attempt to find parking, and ending up parking in a residential area off Canada Way (approx. 20 min walk from the park!).
But it was all worth it because it was a beautiful, warm and sunny evening, with the lake behind the stage, and the Shadbolt Centre on the opposite end. Ice cream, hot dog, drinks, mini-donut stands were set up, along with appropriate police and ambulance attendants. (see below)
Here’s an idea of how many people there were:
The program was a mix of very well-known pieces, including Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, previously performed at the same venue and by the same pianist, Avan Yu, 11 years ago.The VSO also performed the 1812 Overture by Tchaikovsky, which has been performed over 12 times at Symphony in the Park, the most of any piece!
The symphony was directed by Gordon Gerrard, the VSO’s Assistant Conductor.
It was evident that Avan was very comfortable returning to Deer Lake to perform, and the audience loved him. He is below in a white tuxedo, while Gordon was in black.
Quick Quiz (answer in the comments section): What piece is this excerpt from?
After the concert, there were fireworks! What a fantastic way to enjoy music for free!