A ‘Soldier’s Tale’ told through music


It’s hard to perform a concert where admission is free and profit depends solely on donations and memberships. It’s even harder to perform these types of shows for an entire season. And yet, the Erie Chamber Orchestra not only survives, but thrives, offering nine admission-free shows in its typical season. This season is no exception.

The Erie Chamber Orchestra continues its season Monday night with “L’histoire du soldat,” or “The Soldier’s Tale,” by Igor Stravinsky.

The performance, set for 4 p.m. Sunday at the Cathedral of St. Paul, is put on by the ECO, under musical direction from Matthew Kraemer. The concert features Harry Lennix from NBC’s “The Blacklist” as the narrator of the piece.

The story behind the piece is that of a soldier who returns from the war and is tricked by the devil into selling his soul. As he attempts to reverse his mistakes, chaos erupts.

Other featured artists in the piece include Adè Williams on violin, James Thompson on trumpet and James van Demark on bass.

Williams has been recognized as a soloist at just 17 years old.

Steve Weiser, general manager of the ECO, mentioned the other instrumentalists she will be playing alongside.

These four renowned artists will be performing alongside musicians from the ECO, including Geoffrey Wands on clarinet, Sarah Taylor on bassoon, Ron Stitt on trombone and Brad Amidon on percussion.

The ECO has a number of shows remaining this season, but already has been making plans for the 2015-16 season.

“There’s never really a dull moment around the ECO office,” Weiser said.

“We are definitely in a winding up mode at this point, as we’re essentially living in two years.  While we have the five biggest shows of this season with our events from now until the middle of April, we are also about 99 percent  of the way through planning next season.”

Especially with the caliber of this next show, focus needs to go one show at a time, as least for the time being.

“For me, being such a huge fan of ‘The Blacklist,’ I can’t wait for the opportunity to just meet Harry,” Weiser said.

“Objectively, having such a high-profile guest for this show is quite amazing.  We’ve been dealing with both Harry and his publicist based in [Los Angeles] to help schedule the various radio and newspaper interviews.”

After “The Soldier’s Tale,” the ECO will have three remaining major performances, with the finale performance scheduled for June 5.



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