Every December, the Peterborough Symphony Orchestra (PSO) loves to kick off the festive season for Peterborough-area music lovers with a holiday-themed concert.
After last year’s Hollywood take on the concert, the PSO returns with “Home for the Holidays” at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, December 8th at Showplace Performance Centre in downtown Peterborough.
Sponsored by Swish, Home for the Holidays features a Boston Pops-style program sure to get the whole family into the spirit, along with members of the Kawartha Youth Orchestra and the PSO’s annual holiday carol sing-along.
PSO Music Director and Conductor Michael Newnham and the PSO musicians, who began rehearsals for this concert in mid-November, are already caught up in the Christmas magic of the music.
“If there is any concert that can be called ‘pure fun’, this is it,” Michael says.
“The PSO’s Home for the Holidays concert has become a Peterborough tradition. It is an opportunity to bring everyone together to celebrate the upcoming holiday season with our wonderful PSO players and the addition of the Kawartha Youth Orchestra.”
The Kawartha Youth Orchestra (KYO) is a charitable, not-for-profit, community-focused organization that takes pride in helping young people to develop and cultivate a love for music, and to share it with the community.
Under the leadership of Maestro Newnham, who founded the KYO in 2002, the youth orchestra offers young musicians between the ages of 12 and 24 the opportunity to work under the guidance of professional instrumental coaches and to have the experience playing in an orchestra with their peers.
VIDEO: Kawartha Youth Orchestra
The KYO musicians will join their PSO counterparts on stage for the second half of Home for the Holidays. It’s an exciting opportunity to bring the two orchestras together in one show, giving all the players a chance to combine their artistry, performing fun and familiar music, and giving the audience the thrill to hear it played by a very large symphony orchestra.
With all of the action on-stage, the audience won’t be able to help getting into the spirit, and they too will have a chance to take part.
“One of the highlights every year is the carol sing-along,” Michael explains. “With the full audience and more than 80 players on stage all taking part, this is for me always an unforgettable experience.”
Lyrics for the concert’s sing-along will be provided to audience members in the house program that evening.
In addition to the seasonal tunes audience members can expect at Home for the Holidays, Michael reveals that there is more to the program.
“The music ranges from very well-known orchestral showpieces, like Sibelius’ Finlandia and music by Bizet, Wagner and Glinka, through popular Christmas and holiday favourites,” he says. “Even though not every piece has a specific Christmas or holiday theme, they all are included because of the feeling of excitement and gladness they all contain.”
VIDEO: Russlan And Ludmilla (Overture) performed by Orchestra Of Mariinsky Theatre
Mikhail Glinka’s Overture to Ruslan and Ludmilla is the best known music from the composer’s 1842 opera based on a poem by Alexander Pushkin. Richard Wagner’s Prelude to Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg is also from an opera written by the composer, his only ‘comic’ opera.
Georges Bizet’s L’Arlesienne Suites No. 1 and 2 were orchestrated from music composed for a production of the play of the same name by Alphonse Daudet. Jean Sibelius, widely recognized as Finland’s greatest composer, created Finlandia in 1899 as a tone poem, which includes the serene Finlandia Hymn, one of the country’s most beloved melodies.
Home for the Holidays audience members are reminded that Michael Newnham does not present a “Meet the Maestro” pre-concert chat ahead of the PSO Christmas concert. “Meet the Maestro” will return in the New Year at February 2nd’s “Classical Roots” concert.
Concert tickets for Home for the Holidays are available from the Showplace box office at a cost of $35 for adults and $10 for students. Tickets are available in person at the box office (290 George St. N, Peterborough), by phone at 705-742-SHOW (7469), or online at www.showplace.org.