Symphony ready to make a splash

Victoria Symphony Splash takes to the water on Sunday

Violinists Müge Büyükçelen

Violinists Müge Büyükçelen

Knowing that 40,000 pairs of eyes will be trained on her and 49 other musicians in the Victoria Symphony Orchestra on Sunday (July 31), Müge Büyükçelen is prepared to feel a twinge of nervousness.

But when the violinist picks up her bow, she’ll become lost in the music around her, and says any nervousness she feels performing in the 22nd annual Victoria Symphony Splash will quickly be replaced with excitement.

“I do get nervous still, but it’s great to see 40,000 people waiting for that moment (we begin),” said the Victoria resident, who has been playing violin for 27 years, and performing with the orchestra for six seasons.

Many spectators will bring lawn chairs or blankets, while others will arrive by kayak, canoe and other marine craft from which they can watch the musicians perform on a floating barge in the Inner Harbour.

“I don’t think there is any concert hall in the world – other than stadiums – that would hold that many people,” Büyükçelen said.

Sunday’s concert will be her fifth Splash, but she is already anticipating her favourite moment of the night: the grand finale.

The rehearsals, long-term planning and hard work that have gone into the event will truly be celebrated by performers and organizers alike during the orchestra’s final piece, Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture.”

“It’s so glorious – the fireworks, the cannons,” said Büyükçelen. “There’s a lot of build-up to that moment. It’s such a release.”

When the Canadian Scottish Regiment Pipes and Drums Band follows the orchestra with its annual Splash performance of “Amazing Grace,” it will likely bring many people to tears, as it has in years past, said Bethany Wilson, the symphony’s director of marketing and sales.

“It’s quite amazing for a lot of people,” she said.

That is what Splash is about – connecting with people, whether or not they regularly listen to classical music, said Büyükçelen.

“It’s more accessible (this way),” she said. “It’s very, very unique and cannot be replaced by a recording.”

Grandstand seating on Belleville Street is still available at a cost of $50 or $100, and can be reserved by calling the Victoria Symphony box office at 250-385-6515.