Folsom Lake Symphony, handbell choir ring in season
Whether your family celebrates Hanukkah, Christmas or simply enjoys the sounds of the season, the Folsom Lake Symphony will have something special in store when it presents “Season of Cheer” on Sunday, Dec. 12, at 3 p.m.
You might wonder, “who is the Folsom Lake Symphony?” Many already know this phenomenal local performing ensemble, previously known as the Folsom Lake Symphony Orchestra or FLSO for short. Earlier this season the organization’s board decided on the name change, reasoning that a shorter name might be easier for the public to handle.
For seven years the Folsom Lake Symphony and Maestro Michael Neumann have presented the community with memorable moments, with music that brought audiences to soaring heights, to brief “mini lectures” on some compositions to a wildly funny Dave Bender as “guest conductor” on one occasion. Composed almost entirely of volunteer musicians, the organization likes to take the music seriously — but with light hearts that let their humanity shine through.
The “Season of Cheer” concert will include special guests, including the Riverbells Handbell Choir, with its director, Paul W. Allen.
The evening’s program is beautifully ecumenical, and there is a lot of music by great composers.
Kicking things off is the “Blue Danube” by Johann Strauss, Jr. (1825–1899) You may recognize this from the film “2001: A Space Odyssey.” It’s the number playing while Dave jogs around the station.
Swiftly following our reverie on the beautiful Blue Danube, Maestro Neumann takes us to “Second Waltz, Suite No. 2” for jazz orchestra by Dmitri Shostakovich (1906–1975).
“Ancient Airs & Dances, Suite No. 1” by Ottorino Respighi (1879–1936) is an appropriate piece for this concert. Respighi was fascinated by the music of the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries – so he composed music inspired by those eras.
The overture to “Orpheus in the Underworld” by Jacque Offenbach is erroneously known outside musical circles as the “Can-Can.” It is a wild, fun gallop that will engage every member of the audience.
The Riverbells Handbell Choir will present several numbers.
“Festival Sanctus” by Cathy Moklebust (b. 1958) brings a holy, set-apart mood to the evening with the beautiful sounds of handbells. Moklebust is one of the most popular modern-day composers of handbell music.
Karen Lakey Buckwalter is internationally known for her handbell compositions, including “Season of the Heart.” This piece is rich in melodic and harmonic content.
“I’ve Got a Gal in Kalamazo” by Henry Warren was originally performed by Glenn Miller and his Orchestra, along with Tex Beneke and the Modernaires, for the movie “Orchestra Wives.” It was nominated for an Academy Award in 1942.
Traditional carols include: “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” “O Tannenbaum,” “Carols of the Bells,” “We Three Kings,” “Go, Tell It on the Mountain,” and a sing along of Christmas carols and Hanukkah songs.
The sing along will also include George Frideric Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus.”
The evening concludes with the rousing “Radetzky March, Opus 228” by Johann Strauss, Sr.
After many years of performing at the Jill Solberg Performing Arts Theater on the campus of Folsom High School, this evening will be a lovely farewell to that facility. Future performances in the season are scheduled for the new Three Stages facility on the campus of Folsom Lake Community College.
The “Season of Cheer” concert will be performed one evening only, Dec. 12, at 3 p.m. Order tickets soon — all performances for this season are expected to sell out (the symphony packed the house at the season opening). The Jill Solberg Performing Arts Theater is located at 1950 Prairie City Road in Folsom.
Season tickets and single tickets are available. Single tickets are $22 to $42. To purchase tickets, call the ticket line at (916) 357-6718 or visit folsomsymphony.com.
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