Longtime local to help lead Poulsbo orchestra

The new executive director of the Poulsbo Community Orchestra has been involved in music locally since he was 11 years old.

Joel Wallgren is the orchestra’s third executive director, while Gabriela Garza Canales has been named PCO’s second music director.

With live concerts and rehearsals on hold until sometime in 2021, both leaders will guide the orchestra in its outreach to the Kitsap community with four complimentary virtual events.

“The confidence of the board of directors and the support of our patrons in these appointments prove that the arts persevere amid national and global crises. The board is thrilled to have both as the new leadership of the PCO,” said Blake Yarbrough, president of the board of directors and co-founder.

A Poulsbo, native, after Wallgren graduated from North Kitsap High School and then Northwestern University with a bachelor of music degree in Clarinet Performance, he returned to the Pacific Northwest to freelance. He frequently performs with the Northwest Sinfonietta and other professional and community groups throughout the area.

During his senior year of high school, he volunteered to help Bryce Adams with beginning band at Poulsbo Elementary. A product of the Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra program, Walgren had the great fortune to be able to expand his music education with the country’s largest independent youth orchestra. He keeps education at the fore, spending time at local schools to help coach young and aspiring clarinetists.

Garza, a Mexican conductor and percussionist, is a fourth year Doctoral candidate in Orchestral Conducting at the University of Washington. She has performed and conducted throughout North America and Italy. She is also assistant conductor of the Whidbey Island Orchestra and founder of her own interdisciplinary project, [R]evolve, based in Seattle.

She also served as co-conductor of the UW Campus Philharmonia Orchestras and assistant conductor of the UW Symphony Orchestra. During the summer and fall of 2020, Garza has been invited to participate as a guest speaker in different virtual conducting conferences and music workshops throughout Mexico.

As for the online concerts, they can be viewed by a limited live Q&A audience over Microsoft Teams or viewed later on Facebook:

Online concerts

Date: Sunday, Sept. 27

Event: “Virtual Petting Zoo”

Guests: Four guest speakers from PCO. One from each family: Strings, woodwind, brass and percussion.

Description: Garza will lead a Virtual Petting Zoo featuring musicians that will make a short presentation of their instrument with musical examples.

Date: Friday, October 30, 7 p.m.

Event: “Music Macabre”

Guest: Sandesh Nagaraj, composer

Description: It will feature a composer who will lead us through creating our own spooky music composition. There is no requirement about having musical instruments available. The compositions will make it possible to perform with ordinary objects found at home. Optional: Submit your videos for a chance to be featured in PCO’s Facebook page.

Date: Saturday, Nov. 21, 11 a.m.

Event: “The Sopranos’ World”

Guest: Nofar Yacobi, soprano

Description: Garza will lead a presentation/interview/virtual mini concert with Israeli-Italian soprano Nofar Yacobi. This fun event will include interesting anecdotes, insightful questions about the world of opera, and a few arias performed for our guests’ enjoyment. The last 10 minutes will be for a moderated Q&A between the community and Yacobi.

Date: Saturday, Dec. 19, 3 p.m.

Event: “Winter Holiday Special!”

Guests: PCO musicians

Description: PCO will feature its musicians who will prepare and perform a short holiday music piece. Garza will do introductions, moderate and close the concert with a farewell thank you message for the community.

For details call marketing manager Carolina Gomez at 360-930-9519.