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Three Broadway Divas join MSO on stage

September 26, 2009|By JULIE E. GREENE

HAGERSTOWN -- The Norris family of Hagerstown loves Broadway music, so they decided to get together Saturday night to do something special -- enjoy the Three Broadway Divas performance with the Maryland Symphony Orchestra.

By intermission at The Maryland Theatre in downtown Hagerstown, the family's favorite song by the divas was "At the Ballet," from "A Chorus Line."

"Their voices blended so beautifully together," said Shannon Norris, 69.

After planning to attend the concert, Preston Norris, 46, said he and his sister, Robin Byers, 50, discovered Christiane Noll was going to be performing. They had seen Noll in Baltimore when she was touring with "Jekyll & Hyde."

But Noll couldn't make it Saturday night -- she was rehearsing for "Ragtime," which opens on Broadway in October, said Gregory Evans, the MSO's marketing director. Anne Runolfsson took Noll's place, joining fellow divas Jan Horvath and Debbie Gravitte to entertain a crowd of about 600.

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The Norrises said they were not disappointed.

Carolyn Fishack of Frederick, Md., marveled at Runolfsson's ability to repeatedly hit the high notes during "Glitter and Be Gay" from "Candide."

Fishack's friend, Eloise Shaffer of Hagerstown, gave her Pops tickets to celebrate Fishack's 80th birthday after Shaffer injured her hip and couldn't make it to the concert, Fishack said.

Fishack brought her niece, Hagerstown resident Lorrie Brandenburg, who said the divas "make it sound so personable. They seem to relate to the audience."

Stacy Crawford brought his daughter, Olivia, to hear her first MSO concert at the theater.

Olivia, 11, was excited to hear Horvath sing. Horvath sings on the soundtrack for the animated movie "Anastasia," which Olivia likes.

The Crawfords, of Greencastle, Pa., received two free tickets to the concert because Olivia's older sister, Sallianne, was a finalist in a contest to earn a solo at the symphony's Home for the Holidays concerts in December. Sallianne couldn't make Saturday's concert due to a band competition.

Hagerstown resident Kristen DiMercurio, a senior at St. Maria Goretti High School, won the contest to perform the solo, Evans said.

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