YO! announces more details on fall concert

October 16, 2008

The Youth Symphony, conducted by Gary Wolfman, will perform Hanson’s Romantic Symphony and Copland’s Lincoln Portrait with 247 voices provided by local high school choirs and will also feature Ronald C. Dunlap, coordinator of minority services for the Appleton Area School District as narrator. The concert will take place at Lawrence Memorial Chapel on Sunday, Nov. 9 at 4 p.m. General seating tickets are $10 for adults and $6 for students and are currently available at the Fox Valley Symphony office and Heid Music. They will also be available in the Chapel lobby on the afternoon of the concert.

When asked about this program, Wolfman said, “The entire concert program is based on Abraham Lincoln’s birthday and the celebration of life. When I heard that our country would be celebrating Lincoln’s 200th birthday, I immediately thought that the Youth Symphony needed to join in that celebration and perform Aaron Copland’s Lincoln Portrait. President Lincoln’s legacy included the rights of all people to be free and live by the fruit of their labor. These ideas then led me to Copland’s choral piece with orchestra, Promise of Living, where the choir sings about caring and working with your neighbor, lending a hand and of hope and thanksgiving. Those lyrics seemed to go hand in hand with Lincoln’s words and seemed especially appropriate as we approach the holiday season.”

Since Promise of Living needs a very large chorus to balance the 104 members of the Youth Symphony, Wolfman invited Appleton East (Deborah Lind, director), North (Craig Aamot, director), West (Kevin Meidl, director) and Kaukauna High School choirs (Karen Stangel, director) to participate in this event.

In order to complete the program, Wolfman looked for an additional choral/orchestral work that might capture Lincoln’s ideas. His search found the finale to Leonard Bernstein’s opera, Candide, which is about seeking the best possible life. The finale, Make Our Garden Grow, attempts to make some sense of life. Wolfman said, “The lyrics tell us that the basics of life are what really matter; like building a house, making a garden and chopping our wood bring meaning to our lives. These three pieces, performed in sequence, will hopefully give the listener ideas on what is really important in life as they seem to flow together.”

To create the strongest impact, Wolfman decided to perform the three selections as a whole with no applause between pieces to comprise the second half of the concert.

For the first half of the program, Wolfman selected another American composer, Howard Hanson, who lived at the same time as Copland and Bernstein. Hanson’s Romantic Symphony is a 35-minute symphony performed in three movements. Hanson wrote it for the 50th anniversary of the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 1930 and it has become his most famous composition. The performance of this work will showcase the fine musical talent of the Youth Symphony and promises to be one of the season’s musical highlights.

The following Sunday, Nov 16, the Fox Valley Symphony Philharmonia Strings, conducted by Greg Austin, and the Lawrence Academy String Orchestra, conducted by Carrie Gruselle, will present a joint concert in Lawrence Memorial Chapel at 3 p.m. Tickets for this concert are available at the Lawrence Box Office or by calling 920-832-6749.

The Fox Valley Symphony’s mission is to enrich and nurture the human spirit through symphonic music and educational opportunities that enhance the cultural development of our community. For more information, visit www.foxvalleysymphony.com

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