EL CENTRO — The Imperial Valley Symphony (IVS) began its 47th season performing the best it could Saturday, June 5, after more than a year of inactivity at the Jimmie Cannon Performing Arts Theatre.
Earlier that morning, an earthquake damaged a transformer that affected the electrical system of the theater, said Matthew Busse, PhD, music director and conductor.
As Busse welcomed the audience, his microphone malfunctioned causing his voice to be heard intermittently by the audience. He cut short the introduction and told the audience, “Let’s just get started. We’ll just play for you.”
Busse immediately went to the podium and faced the musicians. The audience smiled and applauded. Because of pandemic protocols, only 150 were allowed inside the 1,100-capacity theater.
The first piece was the Overture to La Clemenza di Tito, K. 621 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, with Busse conducting.
“For 15 months, this orchestra was not allowed to meet and rehearse,” said Joel Jacklich, the founding music director and conductor of the IVS, which was founded in 1974 by Dr. Keith MacGaffey.
According to Jacklich, rehearsing by Zoom was difficult. “We only had four days to rehearse, including today.” Jacklich conducted the second piece, The Bamboula, Op. 59, No. 8 by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and arranged by Troy Peters.
The featured musician was Breanna Romero, cello soloist. She performed Cello Concerto in E Minor, Op. 85 I. Adagio by Sir Edward Elgar.
“It was nerve-racking because I was playing in front of people,” said Romero about her performance. But as she continued, “I became relaxed and calmed down.”
The teacher who inspired her to play cello in middle school, Marissa Gohl, also performed with her at the concert.
Romero, who recently graduated from Southwest High School, will continue her studies at Humboldt State University in Northern California. She will be majoring in English and later hopes to pursue a career as an English teacher.
“It was frustrating and stressful,” said Tirzah Becker, violinist, referring to the few days of rehearsal prior to the concert.
“But all of us did a great job,” said Becker. “We’ve adapted to the short amount of time we had, and even if we missed a few notes, we still captured the energy and ideas behind the pieces we were playing.”
“Thank you for coming,” Busse told the audience who responded with applause.