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Inland Musicians to perform ‘zoological fantasy’

Tammy Malgesini

East Oregonian

Published on February 8, 2018 3:41PM

Jody Graves, concert pianist and professor of piano at Eastern Washington University, is featured in an upcoming performance of the Inland Northwest Musicians.

Contributed by Jeff Schindler Photography

Jody Graves, concert pianist and professor of piano at Eastern Washington University, is featured in an upcoming performance of the Inland Northwest Musicians.

Bill McKay, arts and humanities dean at Columbia Basin College in Pasco, is a featured pianist during the Feb. 24 Inland Northwest Musicians concert.

Contributed photo

Bill McKay, arts and humanities dean at Columbia Basin College in Pasco, is a featured pianist during the Feb. 24 Inland Northwest Musicians concert.


A pair of familiar classical pieces are featured in an upcoming performance of the Inland Northwest Orchestra.

Under the direction of R. Lee Friese, the program includes “The Carnival of the Animals” by Camille Saint-Saens and “Grand Canyon Suite” by Ferde Grofe. The free performance is Saturday, Feb. 24 at 4 p.m. at Columbia Basin College, 2600 N. 20th Ave., Pasco. A reception follows the concert.

An ensemble of the Inland Northwest Musicians, participants come from across the region to present classical music free of charge. Tax-deductible donations are accepted.

Saint-Saens, who died in 1921, composed “Carnival of the Animals” in 1886. Regarding the work as a piece of fun, he requested that it should be published posthumously — viewing it as a detraction from his “serious” composer image.

Referring to it as a “grand zoological fantasy,” each of the 14 movements represent a different animal or animals, beginning with “Royal March of the Lion.” Other creatures represented include hens, roosters, tortoises, elephants, kangaroos, swans and more.

According to a 2016 PBS broadcast, Saint-Saens wrote the pieces as a joke for a Mardi Gras party. “Carnival” has become one of the composer’s best-known works.

The performance features two pianists, Bill McKay, arts and humanities dean at Columbia Basin College in Pasco, and Jody Graves, concert pianist and professor of piano at Eastern Washington University in Cheney. In addition, it includes narration featuring humorous poems written in 1949 by Odgen Nash.

Grofe composed the “Grand Canyon Suite” between 1929-31. It was initially titled “Five Pictures of the Grand Canyon.”

The piece consists of five movements, each highlighting a particular scene typical of the Grand Canyon. They include “Sunrise,” “Painted Desert,” “On the Trail,” “Sunset” and “Cloudburst.” The suite was used in “Grand Canyon,” a 1958 Walt Disney film. Featuring color images of the Grand Canyon, it won an Academy Award in 1959 for Best Short Subject.

Founded in 1999, Inland Northwest Musicians is committed to providing live musical performances to rural audiences. It fosters an atmosphere of encouragement and assists musicians in developing their talent. Auditions are not required.

Other upcoming events include:

• Inland Northwest Chorale: March 3 at the Waitsburg Christian Church, in Washington, and March 4 at the SAGE Center in Boardman. Both performances are at 4 p.m.

•Young Artist Competition: March 11 in Hermiston (additional details to be announced).

•Willow Creek Symphony: March 17 at Armand Larive Middle School and March 18 in Arlington (additional details TBA).

The INWM office is located at The Arc building, 215 W. Orchard Ave., Hermiston. For more information, contact 541-289-4696, inwm@machmedia.net or visit www.inlandnorthwestmusicians.com.

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Contact Community Editor Tammy Malgesini at tmalgesini@eastoregonian.com or 541-564-4539



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