Nathan Chan, assistant principal cello of the Seattle Symphony, is the guest artist at the Everett Philharmonic Orchestra’s concert on Sunday. (Mike Gritanni)
                                Nathan Chan, assistant principal cello of the Seattle Symphony, is the guest artist at the Everett Philharmonic Orchestra’s concert Sunday. (Mike Gritanni)

Nathan Chan, assistant principal cello of the Seattle Symphony, is the guest artist at the Everett Philharmonic Orchestra’s concert on Sunday. (Mike Gritanni) Nathan Chan, assistant principal cello of the Seattle Symphony, is the guest artist at the Everett Philharmonic Orchestra’s concert Sunday. (Mike Gritanni)

Philharmonic celebrates 10th season with specially chosen music

“We’re thankful for the support we’ve received,” music director Paul-Elliott Cobbs says.

To kick off its 10th season, the Everett Philharmonic Orchestra has selected a piece to specially mark and embrace its history.

Edward Elgar’s “Lift Up Your Hearts” was chosen as a way for the orchestra to show its gratitude for the support it has received.

“We’re giving thanks,” said Paul-Elliott Cobbs, the orchestra’s music director. “We’re thankful for the support we’ve received and the opportunity to perform in Everett.”

It’s a celebration that the group continues to exist, and grow, when it nearly disbanded a decade ago.

What was then called the Everett Symphony had stopped playing. But the community stepped up to keep an orchestra alive in Everett.

The Elgar piece, one of three that will be performed during Sunday’s concert, was chosen because it begins with a feeling of solemnity, Cobbs said.

The piece’s title comes from a line in the Catholic Mass, “Lift up your hearts.”

Unlike most composed symphonies, there are no woodwinds written into the score. Instead it’s the brass and string sections, joined by organist Elaine Yale Weltz, a charter musician with the Everett Philharmonic Orchestra, that carry the piece.

“It’s very different than what we normally begin the concert with,” Cobbs said.

Elgar is part of a line of well-known English composers that also include Gustav Holst, known for his composition “The Planets,” and Ralph Vaughan Williams, famous for “English Folk Song Suite.”

Nathan Chan, the Seattle Symphony’s assistant principal cello, will be performing Haydn’s “Concerto for Cello in D major.” Among other honors, he won the 2015 Aspen Low Strings Concerto Competition playing this composition.

Cobbs said he has one word to describe Chan and it’s one he doesn’t use often — “amazing.”

“He makes it look easy and it’s extremely difficult,” Cobbs said. “When we rehearsed with him we had a great time.”

Chan was considered a music prodigy by the time he was 3 years old. A video on his website shows him as a very young boy using the gestures of a conductor as Gustav Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony plays in the background.

The concert concludes with a performance of Saint-Saens “Symphony No. 3 (Organ),” a chance for organist Weltz to display her musical skill.

The piece was commissioned by the Royal Philharmonic Society of London. Saint-Saens challenged himself to create his best music, and Cobbs said he thinks he succeeded. He considers it Saint-Saens’ greatest work.

It begins in a minor key, based on a church chant where people have to account for their sins, he said.

The second movement switches to a major key, and “we’ve gotten through the darkness, the bad times, and now we can celebrate and be happy,” Cobbs said.

“The conclusion of the symphony is extremely powerful,” he said. “At the end you go ‘Wow, I didn’t know this was coming.’ ”

Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486 or salyer@heraldnet.com.

If you go

The Everett Philharmonic Orchestra season opening concert is from 3 to 5 p.m. Oct. 13 at the Everett Civic Auditorium 2415 Colby Ave., Everett. General admission tickets are $25, seniors and active military are $20, students with identification are $10. Children 12 and younger get in free. More information at 425-585-8975 or everettphil.brownpapertickets.com.

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