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MSO gives musical gifts

December 14, 2008|By MARIE GILBERT

HAGERSTOWN -- The Maryland Symphony Orchestra never would dream of upstaging Santa Claus.

But Saturday night, it provided quite a few musical presents to an appreciative audience during its annual holiday pops concert, Home for the Holidays, at The Maryland Theatre.

From Handel's "Hallelujah" to "A Charlie Brown Christmas," there was a place for both on the program.

"It's a concert of holiday favorites," said Andrew Kipe, executive director of the MSO. "From classical to traditional caroling, it encompasses all of the music of the season."

Kipe said the holiday concert is one of the most popular and family-friendly offerings of the year.

It's also a way to reach out to a different audience, he said.

"We try to serve the community in a variety of ways," Kipe said. "This is one of them."

A nearly full house came out to hear the MSO's holiday concert, which also featured Hagerstown Choral Arts, under the direction of Gregory Paul Shook; Hagerstown native and resident Kelly Wright of Fox News Channel; and soprano Sheridan Webb, a 16-year-old student at Clear Spring High School.


"I'm so happy to be able to share this wonderful musical celebration with all of you," MSO Music Director Elizabeth Schulze said in welcoming the audience.

Schulze wore a cast on her wrist, explaining she recently had been in an automobile accident.

But the mishap had no noticeable affect on her conducting, as she supplied plenty of festive energy on stage.

The orchestra kicked off the evening with "Holiday Overture," then was joined by Hagerstown Choral Arts for many songs throughout the evening, including "Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas" and "What Sweeter Music."

Wright performed "Go Tell It On the Mountain," "The Christmas Song" and "I'll Be Home For Christmas."

Webb was the soloist for "Joy to the World."

The concert concluded with a Christmas singalong, which featured favorites such as "Jingle Bells," "Deck the Halls" and "Silent Night."

"It's a great way to get into the holiday spirit," said Julie Hammond of Fairplay, who attended the concert with her husband, Gary, and friends, Janet and Ed Drawbaugh.

"We've been to the holiday concert in the past and it's always wonderful," she said.

"Few things invoke the spirit of the holiday season better than music," said Nora Shaley, who received tickets to Saturday's concert as a gift from her son.

"This was the best present anyone could have given me," she said.

If you go

What: The Maryland Symphony's Home for the Holidays concert

When: Sunday, Dec. 14, 3 p.m.

Where: The Maryland Theatre, 21 S. Potomac St., Hagerstown

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