The first concert of our 2023/24 Season is Rhapsody in Blue, which features musical musings on summertime to help usher in Autumn, an enticing piano concerto, and a tribute to Kamloops-born jazz clarinetist Phil Nimmons, all capped off with the “title song” of the concert, Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. There are two performances of this Fairfield by Marriott Kamloops Signature Series concert in Sagebrush Theatre, 2:00 pm and 7:30 pm on Saturday, September 23, along with a Salmon Arm Series performance in The Nexus at First at 3:00 pm on Sunday, September 24.

Kamloops soprano Rachel Casponi will join the KSO on stage to enthrall audiences with performances of Samuel Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915 and George Gershwin’s Summertime. Barber’s work is lush, richly textured music, setting excerpts of “Knoxville: Summer of 1915” by James Agee that later became a preamble to his posthumously published, Pulitzer Prize-winning book A Death in the Family. Barber paints an idyllic, nostalgic picture of Agee’s native Knoxville. Gershwin’s aria is from his 1935 opera Porgy and Bess, and the song quickly became a popular and frequently recorded jazz standard. This gentle lullaby reflects the laziness of a summer evening while the singer is dreaming of a better life for her child.
Rachel Casponi is a performer, director, and educator with music degrees from the University of Windsor and the University of Western Ontario. She has worked across Canada, including with BC’s North Peace Community Choir that she led at their Carnegie Hall performance. A regular performer with the Chamber Musicians of Kamloops and director of local choirs, Rachel teaches for the Kamloops-Thompson School District and the Kamloops Symphony Music School.

soprano rachel casponi


The KSO’s second guest artist of the concert, pianist Daniel Clarke-Bouchard, will then take the stage for his first appearance of the concert to perform the Piano Concerto in D Minor by Florence Price. Price is one of the first female African-American composers to achieve success in her lifetime and has come to be recognized as a significant American composer of the 1930s and 1940s. This short piano concerto has tender, nostalgic moments, mixed with urgent and lyrical sections, and concludes with a sprightly example of a juba, a folk dance that was popular in the years before the Civil War, described as “a sort of proto-rag.”
Daniel Clarke-Bouchard is a multiple award-winning pianist from Montreal who has performed all across Canada, both in solo recitals and with orchestras such as the Montreal Symphony, the National Arts Centre Orchestra, the Metropolitan Orchestra of Montreal, and many others. He is known by his fans for his numerous appearances on television, including the Ellen DeGeneres Show, Canada Am, and the George Stromboulopoulos show.

pianist daniel clarke-bouchard


Next, the KSO will be paying tribute to Phil Nimmons, Canadian jazz clarinetist, composer, and educator who was born in Kamloops and celebrated his 100th birthday in June of this year. Nimmons studied clarinet at the Julliard School in New York and composition at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. He has composed over 400 pieces of music in various genres, including film scores, music for radio and television, and classical chamber and large ensembles. He co-founded the Advanced School of Contemporary Music in Toronto in 1960 along with Oscar Peterson, and helped develop the jazz performance program at the University of Toronto. The KSO will be performing breathtaking orchestral arrangements of several of his songs.

The concert concludes with pianist Daniel Clarke-Bouchard returning to the stage to join the KSO in performing Gershwin’s much beloved Rhapsody in Blue. Perhaps one of Gershwin’s most recognizable compositions, this piece was a key composition that defined the Jazz Age. In addition to inaugurating a new era in America’s musical history, the rhapsody established Gershwin’s reputation as an eminent composer, eventually becoming one of the most popular of all concert works with many saying the famous opening clarinet glissando has become as instantly recognizable to audiences as the opening of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony.

Tickets to the Kamloops performance start at $25 for KSO Up Close seats, the front three rows of Sagebrush Theatre. New this season the KSO has introduced Tiered Seating. Tier One tickets are $51.99 for Adults and $46.76 for Seniors. Tickets for Tier Two—the upper rows of Sagebrush Theatre—are $34.99 for Adults and $31.49 for Seniors. Youth (under 19) tickets are only $10, and KSOundcheck members (age 19-34) can get $15 tickets.

Tickets to the Salmon Arm performance are $37.55 if purchased in advance, or $40 at the door. Youth (under 19) tickets are only $10, and KSOundcheck members (age 19-34) can get $15 tickets.

All tickets are available through Kamloops Live! Box Office by calling 250-374-5483 or going to