The Eighth Annual Brew and Beethoven

Review and photos by Sarah McPherson

May 7 was one of the first warm days in Thunder Bay this year, making it the perfect day to wrap up with a crisp beer and some wonderful classical music. The Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra held their eighth annual Brew and Beethoven concert at O’Kelly VC Armoury, where patrons eagerly welcomed the frosty cans of Sleeping Giant Brewing Co. beer included with their tickets to the show. The room bustled with beer lovers and music lovers alike, all coming together for a shared night of local brews and local talent.

The evening sun poured in through open windows as the orchestra began to play, beginning with the overture to Beethoven’s Symphony No. 8. The TBSO divided their show into three sets with brief intermissions. The first set featured a balanced blend of Beethoven’s second and eighth symphonies. The second set highlighted a careful combination of modern and traditional pop music, including music from Lady Gaga, David Bowie, and Moe Kaufmann’s “Swingin’ Shepherd Blues.” The orchestra performed the classic Gabriel’s Oboe, from the 1986 film The Mission, with principal oboe Colleen Kennedy beautifully playing the soft melody. For the third set, to round off the evening with a more boisterous presentation, the TBSO was joined by local band Kutch, playing orchestral arrangements of original songs. 

Guest conductor Jeff Christmas expressed his joy in the return of Brew and Beethoven to the community. “Another piece of the puzzle after this pandemic—we got our B and B back,” he said. Christmas chatted with the crowd between songs, emphasizing the relaxed and comfortable nature of the show. Many of the audience members had never attended a Brew and Beethoven concert before—according to raised hands when the question was posed by Christmas early on—though applause and foot-tapping around the room proved the audience’s enjoyment of the performance throughout the evening. 


For more information about upcoming performances by the TBSO, visit