Composer and conductor Samuel Parry brings a powerful mix of emotion to the Concert Hall stage on Saturday in the world premiere of his eulogy for his late son, My River.
The 31-year-old founder of the WA Charity orchestra lost River Arama Parry suddenly in late 2015, and has dedicated the ensemble’s return to the stage after pandemic to a world in pain during lockdown.
“This concert taps into the immense variety of emotions that accompany love and loss that people have been facing over the past year as a result of COVID-19’s change to the world,” Parry says.
The concert, entitled Requiem: Love & Loss, performed by the West Coast Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus, and the WA Wind Symphony, features works that use music to connect to lost loved ones.
“Tragedy is a universal experience — it touches us all at some point in our lives,” Parry says.
“We all know what it is to love those around us — parents, family, friends, our children. When we lose those special people, the pain is unfathomable. It lasts for a long, long time.”
The concert will feature the Australian premiere of the monumental Materna Requiem for chorus, orchestra and solo voices by British composer Rebecca Dale. The 35-year-old dedicated the work to her mother, who died of breast cancer in 2010.
The program opens with US composer James Barnes’ Third Symphony (“The Tragic”)for wind symphony, inspired by the death of his young daughter and completed before the birth of his son.
It closes with Dolly Parton’s Light of a Clear Blue Morning, arranged for chorus; a song of hope and brighter days ahead.
“We’ve been extremely lucky in WA that we could continue to present such amazing, inspiring music to the community, together,” Parry says.
“We hope that we can still present this concert despite the current uncertainties around COVID and that our audience can use this experience to feel uplifted and connected to others who faced similar journeys through grief, to find joy in life again.”
Guest artists soprano Katja Webb, tenor Perry Joyce and youngsters artists Phoebe Tait and William Atkins-Walters join more than 170 musicians and singers across three ensembles.
Parry founded the WA Charity Orchestra in 2008 as a fundraising vehicle for external charities.
Now a registered charity in its own right, the organisation houses the WA Wind Symphony — State band champions since 2017 — West Coast Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus.
Between 2008 and 2016 the organisation raised more than $100,000 for Perth charities through annual concerts.
In 2016 WACO turned to funding its own outreach programs, providing free performances for nursing home residents and training for its team of musicians.
Tickets for Requiem: Love and Loss can be booked online at perthconcerthall.com.au or by calling the Concert Hall Box Office on 9231 9999.