After pause, Sunnyside Symphony Orchestra holds Winter Concert

INCLUDES MUSICAL VIDEO | Discover how this volunteer musical ensemble is carrying on — in their first outer East Portland concert after losing founding Musical Director Travis Hatton …

In October, 2019, Travis Hatton conducts the Sunnyside Symphony Orchestra in the Sunnyside Seventh-Day Adventist Church, located in the Hazelwood neighborhood. East Portland News archive image

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Members of the Sunnyside Symphony Orchestra (SSO), and the audience, seemed happy that another concert was taking place on March 12. But, there was a tone of sadness because of the passing of conductor Travis Hatton to the COVID-19 virus.

When covering their last concert back on October 20, 2019, [CLICK HERE to read about that concert] no one realized that the musical season for the SSO would be cut short by the onset of the pandemic – nor that the virus would cause the death of their musical director and conductor.

Conducting the orchestra during that performance was, as usual, Travis Hatton – who started the Sunnyside Symphony Orchestra in 2002. He told East Portland News at one time that he started the organization out of his passion for, and devotion to, good music; as well as the desire to help create a premier community orchestra in the outer East Portland area.

Members of the Sunnyside Symphony Orchestra unpack their instruments and begin to warm up for their delayed 2023 Winter Concert.

However, working to come back from the pandemic, in October, 2022, the music community was stunned to learn that Hatton had died suddenly died of a ruptured asymptomatic intracranial aneurysm.

“We’re resolved to carry on Travis’s vision by continuing to practice, rehearse, and perform in his honor,” said Principal Second Violinist Andre Wang. “Thus, the SSO’s 21st concert season is memoriam of Travis Hatton.”

The SSO has forged on, working with “guest conductors”, we learned – their first being Mark Perlman.

A large audience settles in for great classical music, as this concert begins.

But, their Winter Concert was postponed in February, due to the surprise blizzard that shut down our neighborhoods.

“It is sad that Travis Hatton passed away suddenly in October,” guest conductor Mark Perlman mentioned while the musicians were warming up. “I had existing obligations, but I was able to move around some dates, and managed to schedule things so that this worked out.

“It was quite a disruption to the organization, because Hatton took care of so many functions; now they have to learn how to do all those things themselves, dividing up the duties among their board members,” Perlman pointed out.

SSO Guest Conductor Mark Perlman leads musicians playing Bedrich Smetana’s The Moldau from Mein Vaterland.

“Even with February’s ice and snow, everyone came together,” Perlman smiled warmly. “We had hardly anyone – maybe two or three musicians – who could not reschedule for the two week delay, which is great.”

Reading this article, you can’t hear a thing! Watch this video and get a brief sampling of the quality music played by this great outer East Portland orchestra:

Orchestra sections featured
Instead of presenting a “featured soloist” in the concerto, they decided to feature sections of the orchestra in the different musical selections. “The audience will hear strings that play in one section; woodwinds in another; and then there’s a piece for the brass section that is an arrangement of a choral piece – O Magnum Mysterium – by Portland native Morten Lauridsen,” Perlman explained.

The orchestra plays Charles Gounod’s Finale Allegretto from Petite Symphonie.

The March 4th afternoon program consisted of:

Bedrich Smetana, The Moldau from Mein Vaterland
Jean Sibelius, Andante Festivo
Charles Gounod, Finale Allegretto from Petite Symphonie
Morten Lauridsen, O Magnum Mysterium
Johannes Brahams, Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 73

“The best part of this, for me, is that I love conducting; the more conducting I do, the happier I am,” Perlman commented. “And, it’s fun to get to know a new group of people, although some of them also play in my summertime Oregon Mahler Festival.”

Members of the Sunnyside Symphony Orchestra rise to accept the applause of the delighted audience.

Concert on May 7
The final concert for the Sunnyside Symphony Orchestra’s season will be start at 4:00 p.m. on May 7.  For their Spring Concert, guest conductor Jonathan DeBruyn will be the one to provide the downbeat for this musical event.

Musical selections include: Ludvig van Beethovan – Egmont Overture; Edward Elgar – Serenade; Jean Sibelius – Finlandia; and Pyotr Ilych Tchaikovsky – Symphony No. 5. Face masks and social distancing encouraged, not required.

It’s FREE, and taking place at the Sunnyside Seventh-Day Adventist Church, at 10501 SE Market Street, 97216. For more information, see their website: CLICK HERE.

© 2023 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™


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