OSO shines for the Yuletide season

Fish on Five Brass Quintet and Kelowna soprano Dawn Mussellam join the Okanagan Symphony for the OSO's Dec. 21 concert in Vernon.

The Okanagan Symphony Orchestra is shining the spotlight on its brass section and a star soprano for its Christmas concerts in Kelowna Penticton and Vernon this weekend.

The Fish on Five Brass Quintet, consisting of OSO brass players, is polishing its instruments to perform as part of the Yuletide Brass concert, Sunday at the Vernon Performing Arts Centre.

The concert will also feature Kelowna-based soprano Dawn Mussellam.

“This month’s concert, Yuletide Brass, includes some great holiday classics that the audience will truly enjoy singing along to,” said OSO music director Rosemary Thomson.  “This show is a great performance for audiences of all ages… This is a concert that will most definitely have you leaving in the Christmas spirit.”

Featuring trumpeters Dennis Colpitts and Jim Howie,  tuba player Reynold Epp, horn player Edmund House and trombonist Wade Dorsey, Fish on Five took their name from a fishing trip the men made to the B.C. coast six years ago.

They chugged off to the Bella Bella area in Epps’ boat, taking their instruments along. As a result, their hands were full – with fishing poles and brass horns.

“No cathedral ever provided the acoustics found in a sheltered cove where we anchored for the night and played to the heavens,” said Colpitts, who actually plays the French horn with the OSO and also co-directs the Youth Symphony of the Okanagan.

Fish on Five have since gone on  many more fishing  trips and continue to play at numerous venues throughout the region, including both public and private events.

They have performed at the historic Kamloops Court House for the Chamber Musicians of Kamloops Society and also on the lawn overlooking Kalamalka Lake at the Mackie Lake House in Coldstream.

Sunday’s performance will include the arrangement, Christmas Toons, where Fish on Five will join the OSO’s full brass section to perform a medley of holiday favourites such as Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, and The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.

Mussellam will also join the OSO in performing selections by famed composers J.S. Bach, George Frederick Handel, and Giuseppe Verdi.

Critically praised for her “floating pianissimi” and “powerful crescendi”, Musselam has been a regular guest soloist with the OSO, performing most recently for the Last Night of the Proms concert in May, 2013.

Her warm lyric, coloratura soprano voice and commanding stage presence have delighted audiences all over Canada and beyond, said Thomson.

The OSO’s Yuletide Brass concert starts at the Vernon Performing Arts Centre Sunday, Dec. 21 at 7 p.m. Tickets are available now at the Ticket Seller box office in the centre. Call 250-549-7469 or order online at www.ticketseller.ca.