Not Your Typical Orchestra

by N.L. Thi-Hamrick of Texas Lifestyle Magazine November 18, 2019

Time spent with the Dallas Chamber Symphony is truly one-of-a-kind.

On October 22nd, the Dallas Chamber Symphony (DCS) elevated what would have been a mundane, run-of-the-mill Tuesday to a dazzling night of refined entertainment, catalyzing its eighth season of musical delights with a colorful, multifaceted journey through French musical tastes at the turn of the 20th century. The stage was alight with elegance and palpable energy as the talented orchestra lifted their voices to beautifully illustrate an entire world of imagery and sensations.

As Dallas’ only professional chamber orchestra, DCS has garnered numerous accolades for their showmanship, and are deserving of the utmost honor and respect as a purpose-driven organization dedicated to serving its community. They offer 10 hours of volunteer community outreach for every hour of paid programming, in the form of creative, educational and fun shows, performed in venues to include homeless shelters, juvenile detention centers, local schools and hospitals. Another outreach example is the TechNotes Youth Education program, founded by artistic director Richard McKay. This is a program for elementary school classrooms, bringing technology and musical education together in an innovative symphony.

In October, charming audiences once again, the DCS toured through the tumultuous events eclipsing the ever-changing political and social milieu of turn-of-the-20th-century France. Composers Maurice Ravel, Camille Saint-Saëns and Francis Poulenc helped to bring the scene to life, reflecting the times expressively through music. World-renowned pianist Christopher Goodpasture joined the orchestra on Saint-Saëns’ “Piano Concerto No. 2 in G Minor.”

Graceful as a cloud, Goodpasture’s hands glided over the keys, producing a seemingly impossible shower of notes, calling to mind a dreamy, ethereal lullaby. Other times, the auditorium jolted with electricity as he hammered down with animated gusto, clipping strong, bold, convincing tones that compelled and commanded attention. As a decorated, top-prize winner of the Dallas, Washington, Seattle and Iowa International Piano Competitions, Goodpasture proved his musical brilliance with energetic finesse.

The commanding DCS punctuated staccato beats in powerful marches, only to shift seamlessly into delicate, harmonious refrains. Crashing, sublime waves, followed by delicate, simple bubbles played at the ears, tickling the senses in a torrent of raw emotion and evocative imagery.

And, there is more to come… As socially significant as it is culturally poignant, any amount of time or money spent with the DCS is both rewarding to the ears and uplifting to the soul. At the heart of the organization, the DCS “exists to serve the community.” And they’re doing just that.

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