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Saginaw Bay Symphony Orchestra: Spirit and Virtuosity

Reviewer: Beth Detloff

Venue: The Temple Theatre

An evening in Downtown Saginaw enjoying the Saginaw Bay Symphony Orchestra does not just start at the Temple Theatre. It should be a multiple sensory experience, a feast for the soul as well as for the ears. 

First you may stop into Oracle in Old Town where your friends sneak up behind you even strangers share a laugh together. Then you may head over to Artisan Bistro to wrap yourself in comforting plates, introducing friends to this wonderful gourmet gem. Once you have a warm base layer in both your heart and your stomach then it is time to settle into your seat at the Temple Theatre to be surrounded by the music of the orchestra. 

Does the Saginaw Bay Symphony Orchestra embody spirit? Yes they do. They personify spirit and virtuosity, too. The program laid out for Saturday Night was one of challenges. Both for playing and for the listening audience. The orchestra only rehearses three times before each performance. It is astonishing to think this beautiful endeavor comes together so quickly. This speaks to the musical talent in our area. 

Dr. Kennen White was at ease with his clarinet solo. His fluid technique was augmented by the acoustics of the space. Occasionally an orchestra can bury the notes of a soloist, this was not the case as we heard every note from the clarinet player. I am in awe of the talent that graces the stage, and grateful that something like this exists in Saginaw. 

I am not the only one who feels that way. Reid, an 11 year old Saginaw resident, has been a season ticket holder for five years. He loves music and is excited to attend the orchestra each season. The orchestra has been endeavoring to be more inclusive in their audience range. It appeals to a wide variety of age groups and demographics of people. You can come in jeans or wear your best dress and heels. You can enjoy a cocktail or struggle to open sour candies as the lights dim from intermission. 

Conductor Fouhad Fakhouri took the stage to explain why the pieces represented both spirit and virtuosity. And that the orchestra itself embodies great spirit. I connected with his sentiments as I felt myself full of “local spirit” for Saginaw. When walking up to the Temple with its sign lighting up Washington Avenue, one cannot help but feel full of local pride. Patrons could attend a pre-show talk. This talk explained the pieces that were selected. It gave attendees insight into the music they were about to hear. These particular selections can be difficult to both play and understand. So this is a great way to offer background into the classical music. Conductor Fouhad succinctly fills the audience in on the pieces played and what to expect. He does not talk over our heads, nor does he talk down to the audience who come through the door with varying degrees of both appreciation and knowledge. 

Post show I caught up with several friends for a recap. This particular group of friends come from varying musical backgrounds and play in various local bands. It gave me a more technical glimpse into the world of music and offered a new depth of appreciation for me. Attendees

traveled to the show from not only Saginaw but Midland and Bay City as well. One came as far as Petoskey to attend this particular show. 

The SBSO’s eighty-eighth season, A Journey Through Time and Space, is coming to a close at warp speed. A live score to Star Trek will be the last performance on April 27th. This Saginaw supporter has had tickets since August and personally cannot wait to experience Great Lakes Bay Region’s first live scored film in our beautiful historical theatre.

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