Timbre! goes Hollywood at the Capitol Theatre

Port Alberni’s community choir Timbre! and musical director Patricia Miller will be performing the first concert of their 40th season with two shows, the first on Saturday evening, Nov. 3rd  at 7:30 and the second on Sunday afternoon, Nov 4th at 2:30. 

With the closing of the old ADSS Auditorium on Burde Street and the delay in the completion of the new ADSS Theatre, Timbre! needed to change the venue for their opening show. With a concert entitled CINEMAGIC – A Tribute to the Music of Hollywood, performing the show in Port Alberni’s heritage-designated Capitol Theatre seemed a natural segue. With the cooperation of the Portal Players Dramatic Society who now own and operate the old movie house as a live theatre venue, Timbre! was able to book a weekend time slot.

The first movie I recollect seeing as a child was at the Capitol Theatre on Argyle Street. My father had taken me to see Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Being the war years I recall Disney had included a trailer that had the dwarfs promoting the sale of Victory War Bonds as they marched off through the woods singing Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It’s off to Work We Go.

Next week Timbre! will rehearse in the theatre for the first time in order to get used to the acoustics of the building. With the Port Alberni Orchestra & Chorus’ grand piano in storage awaiting the opening of the new high school theatre, plus the fact the instrument is too large for the Capitol stage after factoring in the numbers of choir members and musicians, I’m using my compact electric piano as a stand-in. Joining me in the orchestra will be Port Alberni’s Dave Auld (drums), with Nanaimo instrumentalist Andrew Cullen (bass) and Karl Rainer (Violin). 

Long before movies could talk, they still had the power to tell a story – with music. In the silent era, Charlie Chaplin not only acted in and directed his own films, he also wrote music for them. In tribute to the era, opening Cinemagic will feature a special guest appearance by Qualicum actor Gary Brown who will perform the role of Chaplin Chaplin accompanied by two of Chaplin’s best-known compositions - Limelight and Smile.
Some of the greatest scores in film history are the product of a shared vision between directors and composers. When he made Close Encounters of the Third Kind in 1977, Steven Spielberg hired long-time collaborator John Williams to score the film before even one frame had been shot. 
Sadly today film scores generally comprise a very small portion of a film’s budget and are often commissioned so close to a release date that demands on composers can be brutal. When I was attending music college in Los Angeles in the late 1950’s and early 60’s, film studios still used large orchestras employing hundreds of musicians to record movie soundtracks. Today with such budget and time constraints and the convenience of electronic music, live scoring is fast becoming a lost art.
However, Cinemagic will take you back to the golden age of Hollywood, when the music composed for a movie meant more than a sound track littered with explosions and car crashes. 
Tickets are now on sale at Rollin Centre, Echo Centre, Somass Drugs and Salmonberry’s. You are encouraged to purchase your ticket in advance.  Due to the increased costs involved with 2 performances and reduced seating, Timbre! is unable to offer Season’s Passes this year. However, the price of Senior and Student tickets have been lowered to $10 and a Child 12 & under to $5. Adult tickets remain at a reasonable $15.

Qualicum based actor Gary Brown takes on the role of legendary film actor and director Charlie Chaplin at the Timbre! choir’s tribute to the music of Hollywood playing the weekend of Nov 3rd & 4th  at the Capitol Theatre.  Brown is co-founder of the Bard To Broadway Theatre in Oceanside and continues to act and direct for the well-known company.