Heavy horses in tune with Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra

It’s music to the ears of the horses, drivers and crowds.

The Calgary Stampede’s Heavy Horse Show puts its best hoof forward combining the majestic horses and the classical

Teamsters drive their horses and wagons during the Heavy Horse Show in the Nutrien Western Events Centre during the Calgary Stampede on July 8, 2018 in Calgary, Alta. Photographed for Stampede Ag Media. Britton Ledingham/iEvolve Photo

melodies of the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra.

President and CEO Paul Dornian says both the Calgary Stampede and Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra are part of the fabric of the region.

“We want to be out in the community connecting with everybody and this was just a natural,” said Dornian.

“We started this a long time ago, who doesn’t like horses and who doesn’t like orchestras and when we put them together it is a lot of fun.”

Brian Coleman, who is the Chairman of the Heavy Horse Show and a competitor in the event for over 30 years, says it has been a great combination since it was started in 2000.

“To watch the horses work with the music and to watch the Philharmonic read the horses and the classes and being able to play the appropriate music, it is really kinda cool on how it has grown over the years and come together and make an entertainment package.”

Dornian says their musicians have a connection to the western lifestyle, including Adriana Lebedovich who’s love for music is equaled by her passion for horses, who we talked to in a previous article.

“A lot of our musicians just like all musicians love the lifestyle here and that includes the western part.”

Lebedovich, who plays 2nd violin in the orchestra, says putting the CPO and the Heavy Horse Show together makes for a powerful combination.

“To see all of these horses at the same time, it’s just this immense power in the ring, combined with this great force of classical music.”

Dornian says the feedback over the years has been amazing.

“Strongly positive, because this is something that they don’t quite expect, but they are pleasantly surprised by.   You’re going to see these big horses, these are the sort of horses that you see in a Budweiser commercial pulling the big wagons.  These great big magnificent animals, you don’t expect to see and hear an orchestra at the same time at the event.”

This year’s World Six Horse Hitch Championships takes place in the Nutrien Western Events Centre on Tuesday from 7 to 9 p.m.