Since Ron Walker established a concert series in 1993 to raise funds for the Chest, Heart and Stroke Association (Scotland) following the death of his father, Tayside Symphony Orchestra has played to enthusiastic audiences in Forfar, Montrose, Perth, Dundee, Pitlochry Theatre and Aberdeen.
Over the past 22 years, the orchestra has successfully collaborated with Aberdeen Operatic Society, Angus Choral/Cecilian Choir and has performed a variety of programmes.
The TSO audience marked the end of an era recently by attending a tribute concert to Ron in Forfar’s Reid Hall, following his decision to retire and ‘hand over the baton’ to assistant conductor, Andrew McGarva.
The orchestra seized the opportunity to pay tribute to Ron’s enormous contribution in rousing style. The concert contained some of Ron’s favourite pieces of music, including the ‘Roman Carnival Overture’ by Berlioz, which set the tone for a memorable evening.
This was followed by two soloists - Sarah Watts (clarinet) and Laurence Perkins (bassoon). Both players demonstrated their virtuosic abilities as soloists in works by Weber, the ‘Concertino for Clarinet and Orchestra’ and ‘Andante and Hungarian Rondo for Bassoon and Orchestra’. They then joined in a Duet-Concertino for Clarinet, Bassoon, String Orchestra and Harp by Richard Strauss.
The evening rounded off with two of Ron’s favourites - Waltz from ‘Eugene Onegin’ by Tchaikovsky and ‘Finlandia’ by Sibelius. The orchestra revelled in playing these works and showed TSO at its very best.
The evening concluded with very moving tributes being to Mr Walker by Mary, Dowager Countess of Strathmore and Bill McLeod, TSO chairman.