WASO trumpets 90th year with Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde

Musician Brent Grapes with the Wagner trumpet and donors Jean and Peter Stokes (Bedford).
Musician Brent Grapes with the Wagner trumpet and donors Jean and Peter Stokes (Bedford).

JEAN and Peter Stokes knew nothing about orchestral music before becoming WASO members about 20 years ago.

They simply wanted to broaden their horizons and enjoy a new pastime together.

“I’m 89 and my wife is 85 so we are late starters – we’re making up for lost time,” Peter said.

“Music is a beautiful medium for people: it crosses all boundaries, it’s a universal language and we’ve just become very much attracted to it as we’ve gotten older.”

The Perth couple recently donated money to help WASO import a rare wooden trumpet from Germany for its upcoming performance of the epic Wagner opera Tristan und Isolde.

“We’ve already brought a number of instruments for the orchestra – two brass trumpets, a cello and a tuba – and we thought this might add to it,” Peter said.

“It arrived recently: I had never seen an instrument like that before and didn’t even know they made wooden ones.

“They are quite rare and something a bit special and they sound beautiful: we had the pleasure of hearing it played and it’s more mellow sounding than a brass trumpet, in my uneducated opinion.”

The Stokes attend WASO’s Thursday morning concerts and have come to know many of the musicians.

“This has opened up our world – it’s another horizon that we haven’t had the opportunity to be a part of in the past,” Peter said.

“We’ll keep helping to bring these instruments over for WASO as much as we can.”

The concert, celebrating WASO’s 90th year, follows the tragic story of young lovers Tristan and Isolde and spans five hours.

Peter joked that it had plenty of intermissions for him and Jean to take a break. THE ESSENTIALS

What: Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde

Where: Perth Concert Hall

When: August 16 and 19

Tickets: www.waso.com.au