Still making a splash

Symphony Splash to celebrate Victoria’s 150th anniversary

Symphony Splash will be filling Victoria’s Inner Harbour with the sounds of music on Sunday

Fanfare, theatrics and serene reflection will all be a part of the 23rd annual Symphony Splash taking place Sunday, Aug. 5 from 1 to 10 p.m. in Victoria’s Inner Harbour.

This year the Victoria Symphony is helping to celebrate the City of Victoria’s 150th anniversary with a pair of specially prepared pieces for the Splash.

Composer Chan Ka Nin has prepared a piece of music titled Harmonious Interest. Through music and narration the work celebrates the history of the city, focusing on First Nations heritage, the city’s British roots, the Chinatown area and other aspects of the city’s identity.

“Music has a way of very much representing our culture and very much presenting who we are,” music director Tania Miller said. “That’s what we tried to grab in the programming around this 150th anniversary, to just really feel the essence of what Victoria is.”

Oak Bay resident and composer Tobin Stokes’ Inner Harbour Overture will be the first piece performed by the symphony.

Using both live and recorded sounds, the piece utilizes the common sounds of the Inner Harbour, including the horn of the Coho Ferry, the rumble of the Johnson Street Bridge and the ringing of nearby cathedral bells.

The remainder of the program features crowd favourites and canonical classics.

Among the selections will be the theme from Mission: Impossible and a medley of famous works by film composer John Williams in celebration of his 80th birthday, which will include The Imperial March.

Liszt’s Hungarian Dance No. 2 will also be performed, as well as Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, accompanied by fireworks. Pipers will close out the night with Amazing Grace.

Miller said that the greatest joy for her is to see the journey the crowd goes on as the event progresses, and the sense of community that develops.

“Everybody just feels so really, truly blessed to be in this great place, with all these people around,” Miller said. “It sort of goes from a party atmosphere to one that’s more serene, and spiritual perhaps. So the music is, for me, this really great marriage between what it is to be people and what it is to all come together as a community and to capture those energies.”

The performance is viewable from throughout the Inner Harbour. The upper and lower causeways around the harbour are the most coveted spots, and among the best for those willing to come early and stake claim. Reserved seating is available in the grand stand for a price. Boaters with small vessels (canoes, kayaks, rowboats) can watch from the water in front of the stage.

Food vendors of all types will be on hand in the Splash Culinary Corner. The family zone will be open from 1 to 5 p.m. and will feature a bouncy castle, an instrument petting zoo and its own stage with live music. The Midnights will also play on the main stage at 4 p.m. to give the audience a chance to take part in a street dance.

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