Dan Manley conducts the Highlands Chamber Orchestra’s rendition of The Prayer during their practice for their 10th annual concert, Welcome Back! /VIVIAN COLLINGS Staff

Highlands Chamber Orchestra presents Welcome Back!

By Vivian Collings
The Highlands Chamber Orchestra is back for a momentous 10th season concert after a long, COVID-instilled pause in gathering.
The group got back together for the first time in two years last fall.
“It feels good. Every next-step we’ve taken has been amazing. We really got back together last fall, which was a pretty emotional moment because we hadn’t seen each other in so long,” said Dan Manley, music director of Highlands Chamber Orchestra.
The orchestra continued to plan for concerts with crossed fingers, but each time, COVID-19 health measures hindered their ability to safely perform.
“We just wanted to start playing things. We pulled some stuff out of our library and just said, ‘Let’s play some music and see what happens,’” Manley said.
The concert is taking place this Saturday, Nov. 26 at the Northern Lights Performing Arts Pavillion at 7:30 p.m.
Manley has a lineup of familiar favourites including a movie music medley, Dance of the Hours by Ponchielli, Lord of the Rings, Pirates of the Carribean Dead Man’s Chest, Pomp and Circumstance, The Prayer and more.
“Some of it is just music that’s been bubbling in my head. I balance that with challenges that are presented in the piece and our development level; where we’re at. Each year, we challenge ourselves with more and more challenging music, so sometimes I’ll look at a piece, and I’ll share that with the board who are essentially the section leads,” Manley said.
Each member will say whether or not the piece works well with their section, so it is a collaborative effort. From there, a theme is formed for their concert.
“With a backlog of pieces, we try to make a theme. As we’re getting back together with a couple of different faces over COVID, we’ve had to rebuild a bit and find pieces that work for us,” Manley said.
Highlands Chamber Orchestra currently has 34 members, but are always welcoming more.
“We’re particularly looking for violins, viola, and we have an opening for a second oboe and second bassoon, and potentially a full-time horn and double bass,” Manley said.
Tickets are $20 or $25 for an adult with a child under 16. Call Ken to reserve tickets at 705-286-0413, or buy them in person at Russell Red Records on Main Street in Haliburton.
For more information about the orchestra or to express interest in joining for next season, contact Bethany at stringstudioworkshop@hotmail.com.