Arts and Entertainment

Beethoven's Ninth Symphony returns to Federal Way | Concert is April 3

The Federal Way Symphony will celebrate its 3rd millennium concert of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony in a stellar and magical performance with the Federal Way Chorale on April 3.

Beethoven’s masterpiece — featuring “Ode to Joy” — was a musical tribute to world peace, the essential goodness of humanity, and the hope of worldwide brotherhood when performed by the Federal Way Philharmonic (now the Federal Way Symphony) at the 1990-1991 Goodwill Games in Seattle’s Opera House. It featured a 150-voice Interfaith Choir and the Seattle Chamber Singers all directed by A. Brian Davenport, conductor and music director of the Federal Way orchestra.

This was a sellout performance that helped make a regional impact on Federal Way with the Goodwill Games construction of the King County Aquatic Center.

Ten years later in 2000, the second millennium concert of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony was performed as an entertainment piece of the highest caliber with musical sensitivity and immaculate technique by the Federal Way Symphony and the Federal Way Chorale.

This masterpiece could mean something different and personal to everyone who hears it. The Ninth Symphony emerges from a whispering mist to towering fateful proclamations. Beethoven, who remains one of the most influential composers of all time, greets us person to person as the theme of the chorale finale is a setting for the song “Ode to Joy.”

Joan Tabrum, a founding member of the Federal Way Chorale, said this was a special occasion “not only that we all performed together, but the last time the symphony performed Beethoven’s Ninth was at the Goodwill Games.

This (2000/2001) millennium concert was somewhat a logistical feat with the combination of both the symphony and chorale members of about 160 people at St. Theresa’s Church.”

The Federal Way Symphony and the Federal Way Chorale have become premier professional groups that have been inspirational to the Federal Way community.

“This is a fantastic and ambitious partnership with the symphony and the chorale again presenting Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony,” said Mary Gates, executive director of the symphony, regarding the April 3 concert. “It presents the members of the community with a memorable musical experience in their own backyard.”

Beethoven’s Ninth is known as the “choral” because of the four vocal soloists and the choir who join in the 4th movement, singing the words to Schiller’s poem “Ode to Joy.” This will be an intoxicating dialogue with a major composer using voices in a symphony punctuated by a delicious mix of the Federal Way Symphony and the Federal Way Chorale.

Like so much of Beethoven’s later music, his Ninth Symphony is demanding for all performers, including choir and soloists.

For concertgoers and Beethoven fans, the first half of the concert will include Beethoven’s “Hallelujah” and R. Vaughan Williams’ “Serenade to Music” sung by the chorale.

“The most important message of this particular concert is that the two long-standing arts organizations located in Federal Way are collaborating to solidify a strong presence in the community,” said Laird M. Thornton, artistic director of the Federal Way Chorale.

“Especially with plans for the building of a new performance facility, it is important to show that there are strong arts groups and get the community to rally around it,” he said. “There is no better way to do this than through an absolutely festive and celebratory spirit of Beethoven’s Ninth.”

Check it out

The concert begins at 2 p.m. Sunday, April 3, at St. Luke’s Church, 515 S. 312th St., Federal Way. Tickets are $30 for adults, $25 for seniors ages 65 and up, and free for students 18 and under. Call (253) 529-9857.

To learn more, visit www.federalwaysymphony or


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