EL CENTRO – The Imperial Valley Symphony delighted classical music aficionados Saturday night with a stirring performance at El Centro’s Wilson Junior High School.
Conductor Joel Jacklich chose Symphony No. 9 of Antonin Dvorak’s “From the New World”. Jacklich explained to the audience, as he does before each set, that composer Dvorak’s derived his inspiration from the Negro Spirituals.
Dvorak, Czech born, came to America to discover “American Music” and engage in it. He supported the concept that African-American music should be used as a foundation for the growth of American music. From this mindset, he wrote the symphony which Jacklich used for his musical numbers.
One heard the lyrical, haunting sounds of the music from the Deep South in each piece. As moving as Jacklich’s first half was, after the intermission Jacklich showcased local artistic genius. He had re-arranged Mozart’s Symphony Concertante, K 364 to specifically cater to the talents of Luke and Andrew Hamby of Westmorland.
The Hamby brothers are but two of a musical family from Westmorland. Luke is the Concertmaster for the Symphony and plays first violin. His older brother, Andrew, studied the cello at Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University on a music scholarship, and he is currently the Nadene Bean Endowed Cello Chair (principal cello) of the Flagstaff Symphony.
Jacklich introduced the piece with the remark that the parts the Hamby’s will perform were originally set for a violin and a viola, with a nod to Andrew, he said that adapting the viola to a cello still meant a harder set for the older Hamby on his cello.
The large crowd saw a top rate performance by two very talented men.
Ruth Smith, another local talent who sings soprano in many of the North County Coalition of Arts (NOCCA) productions said, “That was so beautiful, I have tears in my eyes.”
To the crowd’s response of a standing ovation, the duo responded with an arrangement of their own, a medley of Shenandoah and Danny Boy.
Jacklich hires symphony players from San Diego to fill in the holes in his orchestra. He said, “We have about twenty faithful players that travel to play in our concerts. Some of them have been with us 38 of the 39 years we have existed.”
Jacklich is quite adept at rearranging musical numbers and has sold many of his arrangements. This allows him to highlight certain players and instruments in their performances.
“We are always looking for musical talent to join us,” Jacklich said. “If you played in your high school band, we could use you.”
The conductor said they always could use more flutes, clarinets, bassoons, oboes, French horns, and tuba players. “We really need a percussionist. Brook Kofford is sitting in for us at the moment, but if you are a percussionist, give me a call!”
The Orchestra is always looking for sponsorships to keep the music alive. Each season costs the IV Symphony Foundation approximately $24,000. With this money, they pay for the traveling San Diego musicians, they fund music camp scholarship programs, and the Young Artist Competition.
To donate, send your check to Imperial Valley Symphony Association, Inc., P. O. Box 713, El Centro, CA 92244-0713.
The next performance of the IVSA is April 20 at the Jimmie Cannon Theater for the Performing Arts in El Centro.