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Sounds of the season

MSO joined by local voices, dancers in holiday concert

MSO joined by local voices, dancers in holiday concert

December 18, 2006|by ALICIA NOTARIANNI

HAGERSTOWN - "Christmas makes you feel emotional "

So begin the lyrics of the traditional Christmas song "Silver Bells," the namesake of this year's Maryland Symphony Orchestra Holiday Concert.

Audience members said Sunday's 3 p.m. concert - the second of two MSO holiday concert performances - aroused a scale of sentiment from wistfulness to elation.

The feelings began as soon as music director Elizabeth Schulze led the orchestra and Hagerstown Choral Arts in Robert Shaw's "The Many Moods of Christmas." The piece, which offers the solemnity of "Silent Night" along with the playful rat-a-tat of "Patapan," set the stage for a passionate musical event.

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"Welcome to the celebration of Christmas in July," Schulze said, with a teasing reference to the unseasonably warm weather. "I'm sweating. How is that possible?"

Schulze recalled one year when the holiday concert was cancelled due to snow, then wished the audience "all the blessings that the holiday season has to offer."

The concert featured Lukasz Szyrner, MSO's principal cellist, as the soloist in Tchaikovsky's lyric "Andante Cantabile."

MSO season ticketholder Sharon Raun, 60, of Williamsport, said that while she always loves Tchaikovsky, she was moved by the orchestra's "Pas de Deux."

"(Schulze) is such a marvelous conductor," Raun said. "We are really fortunate to have her."

Nancy Roebuck, 62, of Berkeley Springs, W.Va., said she was inspired by the music.

"Sitting there, hearing the music, I could see things from far back when I was a kid. It takes you back and it's absolutely mesmerizing. It's just beautiful what it can do," Roebuck said.

Todd and Karen Miorin of Chambersburg, Pa., took their children, Anthony, 5, and Anne Marie, 4, to the concert. Anthony, whose mother described him as a "music lover," said he liked the drums most of all.

Anne Marie beamed, jumping up and down as she announced her favorite part of the concert.

"The ballerinas. I like 'em. They're beautiful!" she said of the dancers with Potomac Classical Youth Ballet.

Mary Anne Ellifritz, MSO director of marketing and public relations, said nearly 1,300 people attended the holiday concert.

Nancy Chase, a volunteer with the MSO Guild, said she was thrilled to see so many patrons.

"There are a lot of families with young children, all dressed up," Chase said. "It warms my heart to see them with their eyes as big as saucers."

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