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March 2024 | OrKIDstra

You are going to love this year’s OrKIDstra production of Little Red Riding Hood, from the Bremerton WestSound Symphony and Kitsap Opera. Until last year, I hadn’t even heard of this work, written by Seymour Barab in 1962 especially for audiences of children. In a departure from darker versions of the classic folk tale, Barab’s version is wholesome, innocent, and humorous. Though billed as a “children’s opera,” there is spoken dialogue as well as singing. The music is tuneful and accessible, and really enhances the storytelling. In our production, the action takes place in front of the orchestra, in full view of the audience rather than in a pit. The work is about 45 minutes in length, performed without intermission, and will be sung in English with projected supertitles.  

The five main characters of the story are portrayed by three singers in costume: Katrina Noble as Little Red Riding Hood, Cori Battaglia as the Mother and Grandmother, and Erik Lawrence as the Wolf and the Woodsman. Artistic direction and preparation of the singers is by Andrew Etherington, and I, Gary Dahl, will conduct.

Three performances will be presented at the Bremerton High School Performing Arts Center. The first two will take place on the morning of Tuesday, March 19, for audiences of school children. The third performance, for the general public, is 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, March 24.

It has been a great pleasure to collaborate on this project with Andrew Etherington, Kitsap Opera’s new artistic director. Andrew also teaches voice and leads opera productions at Olympic College. You might have heard him in the title role of Faust or as a tenor soloist with the symphony, but here you will see and hear the result of his work behind the scenes. I have invited him to tell us more.

Notes from Andrew Etherington, Artistic Director of Kitsap Opera: 

Did you know that Kitsap County has its own local opera company? Kitsap Opera was founded in 1992 by the amazing Leone Cottrell-Adkins, who directed, conducted, and even performed when needed. Leone and a team of board members have been producing accessible opera here on the Kitsap Peninsula for 32 years. It is my honor to continue their legacy.

While we typically think of operas performed for adults at night, in big theaters, with lights and sets, there is also a genre for younger audiences. As the Artistic Director of Kitsap Opera, my desire is to program for all Kitsap families. We are thrilled to be partnering with the Bremerton WestsSound Symphony to bring you this exciting performance of Little Red Riding Hood, which is part of our larger season that began with a holiday sing-along and short Christmas opera at Admiral Theatre this past December. We hope to see you again this coming September for Rossini’s Cinderella, a delightful pairing of both the opera and a royal ball, where prince and princess costumes and Bridgerton dances are encouraged!

For this production of Little Red Riding Hood, we partnered with the music department of Olympic College in Bremerton to bring you this hilarious production.  I encourage you to laugh and cheer “Bravo!” as loud as you can! Some people think opera is stuffy, but not here in Kitsap. Have fun and enjoy the show!

For more information about music at Olympic College, visit

For more about Kitsap Opera, visit our website at

OrKIDstra’s Little Red Riding Hood school-day performances are filled to capacity, but there are still seats left for Sunday’s 3:00 pm performance and patrons of all ages are welcome. The talented Bremerton WestSound Youth Jazz Ensemble will play in the lobby prior to the performance at 2:15 pm and doors will open at 2:00 pm. All seating is general so come early to pick your best seat. Adults are $10 each and Youth 18 and under are free. 

Gary Dahl, originally from Montana, is a resident of Silverdale and teaches music in the Central Kitsap School District. He serves as associate conductor and personnel manager of the Bremerton WestSound Symphony, principal timpanist of the Bremerton WestSound and Port Angeles Symphonies, and conductor of Kitsap Opera. Dahl holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Education from Pacific Lutheran University and a Master of Music in Conducting from Western Washington University. He studied conducting with Gunther Schuller, Jerry Kracht, David Wallace and Bruce Pullan; and timpani with Michael Crusoe and Salvatore Rabbio. Gary began his teaching career in Omak, Washington, where he also was conductor of the Okanogan Valley Orchestra. During his 25 years in the Bremerton area, he has also conducted for Summit Avenue Church, Puget Sound Opera, Peninsula Trombone Choir, Millennium Music Series Association, Kitsap Youth Symphony and Bremerton Community Theatre.

Andrew Etherington, from Kansas City, completed his music undergraduate studies at Ole Miss, honed his singing and stage skills with Bill Hall’s American Opera Studio and then attended The Peabody Institute in Baltimore. He moved to the Seattle area in 2015 and quickly joined the voice faculty of Olympic College in Bremerton, WA where he currently lectures, teaches applied voice, and directs opera productions.  Since 2017, Andrew has been a regular opera chorister and is enjoying recent success in covering roles and performing comprimario parts at Seattle Opera, in addition to singing supportive, lead, and title roles with Tacoma Opera, Vashon Opera, Pacific Northwest Opera, Kitsap Opera, and Puget Sound Concert Opera.  Recently, Andrew accepted the position of Artistic Director of Kitsap Opera in Bremerton, WA and proudly helped launch their 2023/24 season of Amahl and The Night Visitors this past December and looks forward to assisting with Rossini’s La cenerentola (Cinderella) in September of 2024.  


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