by ASHLEY MILLER
for the Sequim Gazette
What could be better than watching your favorite old movies come to life on the big screen?
Pairing the films with live music, according to Mark Wendeborn, Port Angeles Symphony executive director. That is exactly what the orchestra will do Friday, Sept. 23, and Saturday, Sept. 24.
Symphony director Adam Stern has handpicked a series of silent film shorts from yesteryear to show on a big screen while the orchestra plays music to accompany the movies. The first Pops & Picnic & Movies concert is in Sequim at the Boys & Girls Club at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 23; the second is at the Vern Burton Community Center in Port Angeles the next evening.
Guests are encouraged to bring picnic-style dinners. Organizers will provide popcorn, beverages and ice cream floats as part of the ticket price.
“Pops! is a fun way to interest people in classical music in an informal, lighthearted and fun way,” said Wendeborn.
Just one week after the opening Pops! perform-ances of the 2011-2012 season, the symphony presents a concert and fine cuisine fundraiser at C’est Si Bon restaurant on Saturday, Oct. 1.
The fundraiser will showcase the talents of Young Artist Competition musicians Elizabeth Helwick on viola, Michael Helwick on bass, Selbey Jelle on violin and Cole Urnes on piano.
Guests will enjoy a four-course dinner served with wine. Upon reservation, attendees can request their choice of Filet Mignon Forestiere, Seafood in Parchment, Chicken Wellington or a vegetarian dish.
“It’s a fundraiser where we can showcase the many young, talented artists we have across the peninsula,” Wendeborn said. “It’s a really lovely evening and our patrons love to come here and hear these young musicians.”
Meet the artists
• Elizabeth Helwick, 16, is a junior in high school. She plays the viola and is the principal violist in the chamber orchestra at Port Angeles High School. She has played the viola since fifth grade, after switching from violin, which she played in fourth grade.
Outside of music, Helwick enjoys dancing, which she has done since she was 4, and reading. At school, she’s involved in Leadership, National Honor Society and Rider Crew. Ultimately, Helwick hopes to continue playing into college and beyond but major in dance.
• Michael Helwick is 14 years old and plays upright bass in the concert orchestra at Port Angeles High School, where he is a freshman. He has played bass for four years, after switching from cello before fifth grade.
He is involved in school activities such as National Honor Society, cross-country and track and field.
Outside of school, he is a Second Class Boy Scout and plays bass in the community chamber workshop.
He enjoys reading and listening to classic rock. He plans to major in music and to play bass for the rest of his life.
• Selbey Jelle, like most string students of Port Angeles, started playing in the fourth-grade school program. In the fifth grade, a teacher recommended him for the North Olympic Youth Symphony, in which he played for the next two years until the untimely close of the program due to budget cuts.
During the same year, Jelle decided to volunteer for the Port Angeles Symphony. He enjoyed playing in the symphony so much that he decided to play for the past three seasons.
• Cole Urnes, 15, was born in Port Angeles and has lived in the area almost his entire life. In addition to the piano, he plays the trombone and tuba with the Port Angeles High School Band, the Port Angeles Symphony Orchestra and the Youth Jazz Band.
As a freshman at Port Angeles High School, he is active in the science club, cross-country and swim teams. He is grateful for the support of the Port Angeles Symphony and said he’s honored to be a Junior Young Artist of 2011.
The annual Young Artist Competition is open to any North Olympic Peninsula instrumental music student who is younger than 22 years old. Competitors perform a selection of music of concert quality and the first-place winner of the competition receives a cash award.
The annual Junior Young Artist Competition is designed for those students who may not be ready yet for the Symphony’s Young Artist Competition. This competition is open to any North Olympic Peninsula instrumental music student who is in ninth grade or below and who has not completed or applied for the Symphony’s Young Artist Competition. Competitors perform a selection of music of concert quality and the first-place winner receives a cash award.
Both competitions are held on the last Saturday in January at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Port Angeles and are open to the public.
The Port Angeles Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1932. The group started with a few fiddlers and horn players performing light opera and John Philip Sousa marches in private homes and has evolved into an award-winning orchestra of more than 80 musicians.
Led by Stern, the orchestra presents five symphony concerts, five morning dress rehearsals, two Pops! concerts, six chamber orchestra concerts and multiple special events with music and refreshments each year.
Last year, the symphony tried something new, hosting a children’s concert for the first time. A special program written by Stern and presented during a dress rehearsal, the unusual concert was a huge success.
“This year, he’s planning something even bigger and better,” Wendeborn said.
Also, for the first time, children age 16 and younger will be admitted to all dress rehearsals for the chamber orchestra free.
“Our main outreach right now is the youth,” Wendeborn said. “Load up a group of children and bring them to a rehearsal — it’s an economical, cultural and educational opportunity.”
For more information about the Port Angeles Symphony Orchestra, go online to www.portangelessymphony.org. The orchestra also is featured in the Fall 2011 Living on the Peninsula, published Sept. 14.