Concert works holiday magic

December 09, 2002|by JULIE E. GREENE

The Maryland Symphony Orchestra's Saturday matinee drew approximately 600 people to the Maryland Theatre. Many of them were attending an MSO holiday pops concert for the first time.

The holiday spirit and her daughter Sarah's interest in the concert led Laura Benkert to attend Saturday's matinee. The concert was listed on the school calendar, Benkert said.

The MSO has been marketing more to children and Music Director Elizabeth Schulze has been asking that more children in the community become a part of the concert, MSO Marketing Director Brenda Bush said.


As a result, the Potomac Classical Youth Ballet gave audience members a sample of their "Nutcracker" performance that will be held later this month.

The E. Russell Hicks Middle School Chorus and Maryland Public Television's "Bob the Vid Tech" led a standing audience in a sing-a-long during the concert's second half, Bush said.

"The Maryland Symphony Orchestra wants to help enrich the lives of children musically," Bush said.

The event included a poster contest that resulted in the Bowen family's first trip to the MSO's holiday pops concert, which is titled "A Holiday Toyland."

Will Bowen, 9, of Williamsport, was one of the winners in the poster contest.

While Greg and Cheryl Bowen had seen professional orchestras perform before, Will and older sister Rebecca, 14, had not.

Will's favorite part of the first half of the concert was the "March of the Toys" from "Babes in Toyland" by Victor Herbert, he said.

Sarah Benkert, 9, of Hagerstown, liked the ballerinas' performance for the "Waltz of the Flowers" from "The Nutcracker."

Her mother liked the "Arabian Dance." A more sensual dance than the others, the "Arabian Dance" required muscles as the ballerina's male partner lifted her several times.

"The music is just incredible," Laura Benkert said.

Amanda Hartman, 5, of Fayetteville, Pa., also enjoyed watching the ballerinas. She liked the pink and purple costumes she saw them wearing from her vantage point on her mother's lap near the back of the theater.

Amanda is a big fan of "Bob the Vid Tech," who performed with the orchestra and sing-along during the concert's second half.

The youngsters weren't the only newcomers to the MSO to enjoy the concert.

Dan and Lori-Ann Koch were in town for a getaway weekend from their home in Columbia, Md., and decided to see the MSO for the first time. Before the concert, Lori-Ann Koch said she was excited about visiting the historic theater.

By intermission the couple, who has seen the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra perform, were enthralled by the local performance.

"I thought it was really good. Excellent," Dan Koch said.

The couple said they enjoyed and were surprised by the dancers joining the performance.

Koch said the MSO performance was just as good as what the couple is used to listening to in Baltimore.

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