VSO to bring ‘Fantastic’ beasts tonight

Published 5:50 am Saturday, March 2, 2019


From the cases that protect cellos, flutes, timpani, trombones and the like, all members of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra will bring out a menagerie suitable for everyone in the family when they perform — for free — “Fantastic Musical Beasts” tonight, March 2, starting at 7:30.

Sponsored courtesy of the annual generosity of the Camp Foundation, the show is presented by the Franklin-Southampton Concert Association, and will be in the auditorium of Southampton High School, 25530 Southampton Parkway, Courtland.

The program’s theme is a nod to the movie “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” based on a story by J.K. Rowling. A memorable character from the “Harry Potter” series will also be featured: Hedwig. Composed by John Williams, the snowy owl’s theme from the boy wizard’s adventure with the sorcerer’s stone will open the first musical cage.

Also making appearances: Anderson’s elegant ‘Waltzing Cat;’ the plodding tortoise by Saint-Saen’s; Rimsky-Korsakov’s frenetic ‘Flight of the Bumblebee’; Rossini’s brazen ‘Thieving Magpi;” and Tchaikovsky’s elegant theme and finale from ‘Swan Lake.’

The orchestra’s own assistant principal second violinist, Elizabeth C. Vonderheide, gets a solo with “Introduction and Tarantella” by Sarasate. Don’t expect any dancing spiders, though. She is the assistant principal second violin with the VSO, and has earned recognition as an orchestral, chamber, and solo musician. Vonderheide has performed on the Feldman Chamber Music Series, the Organ Swell recital series and as a guest recitalist at Old Dominion University. She performs on a violin by Joseph Curtin.

Elizabeth C. Vonderheide

Emily Dempsey

This concert is not strictly instrumental. Emily Dempsey will sing the theme from Menken and Chase’s “Beauty and the Beast.” A junior at the Governor’s School for the Arts in Norfolk and at Smithfield High School, the vocalist was most recently seen in GSA’s “A Gentlemen’s Guide to Love and Murder” (Phoebe); “She Loves Me’” “Crazy For You’” and as a soloist in GSA’s tour of Japan.

The aforementioned ‘Fantastic Beasts’ will be heard in James Newton Howard’s suite.

You’ll hear those creatures and more when VSO’s Gonzalo Farias arrives at the podium to conduct. A native of Santiago de Chile, where he began his piano studies at age five, Farias went on to earn his bachelor’s degree at the P.C. University of Chile, and then continued his graduate studies at the New England Conservatory, University of Illinois and the Peabody Conservatory. He is a former music director of the Joliet Symphony Orchestra and current associate conductor of the Occasional Symphony in Baltimore.

For more information about the show, contact concert association president Nancy Rowe at 653-7914.