Bremerton symphony is back with free in-person concerts and a new name

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The Bremerton WestSound Symphony will be back in the community with live and in-person concerts this fall that will be free and open to everyone.

After a year of virtual symphonies, Music Director and Conductor Alan Futterman is excited to bring the symphony to a number of new locations in Kitsap County. Along with the symphony’s largest venue list in its nearly 80-year history comes the rebranding to include “WestSound” in the name. Coupled with the removal of ticket prices, Futterman hopes to reach as many people as possible.

The symphony will kick off the season on October 10 at the Marvin Williams Center in Bremerton, with performances at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. with a free reception at 5 p.m.

Kristin Guy, a staff member of the solo oboe and symphony orchestra, described the music as “eccentric” and said the first show was designed with diversity in mind – Mozart and Mendelssohn for loyal and die-hard fans of classical music as well as for 20th century Gershwin and jazz singer Eugenie Jones.

Futterman agreed that the combination “might look like a really weird segway, but it makes for something for everyone,” he said.

Guy said she hopes the lineup shows people that the symphony is “exciting”.

“It’s not stuffy, it’s not old, it’s something really current and special,” she said.

Bremerton WestSound Symphony director Alan Futterman's bat disappears behind his back as a crescendo rises to an explosive final note during a Monday rehearsal at the Manette Community Church.  The symphony's first concert will take place on October 10 at the Marvin Williams Center in Bremerton.

The symphony may have sacrificed ticket revenue for this year as the COVID-19 pandemic actually created more financial stability for the group. Instead of concerts last year, Futterman organized videos featuring different instrumentalists individually playing each part of a piece of music and edited them together to create the sound of a full orchestra. These videos, available on the Bremerton WestSound Symphony website, inspired by generous donations.

“We are very lucky,” Futterman said. “What band can say we’re starting the season with all of our prepaid bills?” It’s incredible.

After more than a year and a half without seeing each other, the orchestra members, all of whom are volunteers, gathered last week for their first in-person rehearsal. “It was such a joyous occasion… a heartfelt and heartwarming experience for everyone,” said Futterman.

“They come from all different professions, but their real joy is that when the working day is over we all get together and play music… and that’s the highlight of our week,” said Futterman.

Guy added that there was some awkwardness in relearning to play with listening and timing. Not only has the symphony not been together for so long, but now, even in rehearsal, the ongoing pandemic demands that they be pushed aside and masked where possible.

The symphony requires that members of the public be masked and physically away from people outside their group during concerts. The musicians will be partially masked with different levels of distance.

Futterman said he hoped the audience would return.

“People are absolutely moved by the music, and there’s nothing quite like hearing it live, so I have no doubt the audience will come back,” he said.

Bremerton WestSound Symphony member Chuck Greene dons a mask with a hole for his mouthpiece during a rehearsal at Manette Community Church on Monday.

Bremerton WestSound Symphony season 2021-2022

October 10: Mozart, Mendelssohn, Gershwin and original jazz compositions with singer Eugenie Jones, Marvin Williams Center, Bremerton

November 7: Musica sacra e profana, Admiral Theater, Bremerton

November 28: Bach Wedding Cantata and Advent Celebration, St. Gabriel Catholic Church, Port Orchard

March 13: A History of African American Composers, Marvin Williams Center, Bremerton.

March 27: OrKIDstra: Carnival of the Animals and Purple Haze, Bremerton Performing Arts Center, Bremerton.

April 24: Beethoven’s Eroica & Beethoven’s Violin Concerto, Silverdale Lutheran Church, Silverdale

May 15: Blooming Brilliance & Scheherazade, location to be confirmed

June 3: Moving Between Light and Dark, St. Gabriel Catholic Church, Port Orchard


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