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Kelda Lawlor returns home to PEI to perform with the PEI Symphony

by Annette Campbell

It may not seem like a big deal to some, but to musicians, it's the world-a chance to perform as a soloist with a symphony orchestra. Island-born Kelda Lawlor is going to get that chance on November 26, when she appears with the PEI Symphony Orchestra in their "It's Almost Christmas" concert.

This accomplishment is a milestone on the long road to a career in music. After graduating from the PEI school band program, Kelda began her professional french horn studies at UPEI, first with Dave Kutz, then with Greg Irvine. She soon ran the gamut of performing opportunities here on the Island, playing with the UPEI Wind Symphony, Prince Edward Brass, and the Confederation Centre Brass Quintet. Looking for something more, she followed the time-honoured tradition of ambitious musicians before her and moved to the "big city"-in this case, Toronto. There, she began studying with Chris Gongos of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and soon was accepted into the Glenn Gould Professional School, an extension of the Royal Conservatory of Music. In 1999, she was chosen by the adjudicators of the PEI Music Festival to be the recipient of the Suzanne Brenton Award, allowing her the opportunity to appear as a soloist with PEISO. Today she is continuing her studies and is playing with the National Academy Orchestra under the direction of Boris Brott.

Kelda faces many challenges with her performance of Strauss' Concerto for Horn. By its very nature, a concerto contrasts and blends an individual performer with an orchestra. The soloist must be an independent entity, allowing the orchestra to back her up. As Kelda puts it, "I've played solo lines in orchestral music before, but there, the conductor was still the boss. Here, I will have to take a more active role, I can't just follow the orchestra. They will be relying on me, through the conductor, to lead the piece."

As for her future plans, Kelda would like to "eventually be a solid orchestral player, with a gig, of course!"

Kelda is not the only feature of the PEISO's second concert of the season. Called "It's Almost Christmas," the concert offers much more musical variety than a strictly Yuletide show. Don't worry though, dance umbrella will still be performing, this time with an interpretation of Boutique Fantasque, composed by Rossini and arranged for ballet by Respighi. Peggy Reddin's troupe will tell a Christmas-y tale of two dolls (who are best friends) facing the prospect of separation as they are to be sold to two different owners. (I have in on good authority that there is a happy ending!) The symphony will round out the concert with the Overture to Weber's opera Oberon and Northern Lights, a work by Canadian composer Nick Peros, a fitting end to Canada Music week™. Come out and support fabulous Island talent November 26 at the Confederation Centre of the Arts.

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