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MasterWorks concert a family affair

October 11, 2009|By JULIE GREENE

HAGERSTOWN -- The Sunday matinee performance by the Maryland Symphony Orchestra seemed like a family affair, with many relatives in attendance, including those of the musicians.

Jessica Nelson, 19, of Stephens City, Va., often comes to see the symphony because her parents, trumpeter Scott Nelson and violinist Cathy Nelson, are in the MSO.

On Sunday, she went to The Maryland Theatre in downtown Hagerstown to see guest violinist Elena Urioste. Urioste joined the MSO's MasterWorks I concerts to perform Samuel Barber's Violin Concerto, which at times involved a lot of quick finger positioning and bow work.

Jessica Nelson, who plays violin in the Shenandoah University Orchestra, said she found Urioste's performance amazing and motivating.

"It makes me want to keep playing," she said.

Having finished her guest appearance by intermission, Urioste described performing with the MSO as "wonderful." The MSO has a "beautiful sound and nice presence."

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Andrew Kipe, executive director for the symphony, said there were more than 800 people at Saturday night's concert and an estimated 700 at the Sunday matinee.

That included Lorian Deuel, 72, who said she's been coming to hear the symphony for at least 20 years.

"We live in Frostburg (Md.), so this is a bit easier to reach than going to Baltimore and it's an excellent symphony," Deuel said.

Esther LoPresto, 19, of Hagerstown, had a front-row seat, along with her mother, Nancy.

"We came last year for the whole season," said Esther LoPresto, who plays the flute.

"I really enjoyed all of the shows they've done," said LoPresto. Last season's finale, "A Symphonic Space Odyssey" featuring Gustav Holst's "The Planets," was her favorite.

Jamie and David Tolson of Keedysville brought their 6-year-old daughter, Sophie, to hear Sophie's violin teacher perform. Sophie has been taking lessons from Kat Whitesides.

Sophie was too shy to say how much she was enjoying the concert, but her mother said it was wonderful.

"This is our first time here, so it's great," Jamie Tolson said.

Randy Sprecher, of Boonsboro, brought his daughter, Amber, to the concert.

"Every year for her birthday, I let her pick which one she wants to come to," Sprecher said.

Amber Sprecher, who turned 23 a week ago, said she picked Sunday's concert with the guest violinist because they heard a pianist last year.

Shellie Nix brought her 6-month-old daughter, Elliana, to the symphony. Elliana, wearing a dress and a floral hair band, enjoyed a bottle and a bounce on mom's knees as dad, Matt, warmed up his double bass onstage.

This was Elliana's third concert.

"She has been coming since she was 2 weeks old," Shellie Nix said. "She loves the music" and finds it soothing, she said.

True to her mom's word, Elliana nodded off before the concert's second half.

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