HAGERSTOWN — The Maryland Symphony Orchestra will present its annual “Home for the Holidays” concerts this weekend.
And there’s one piece that will not be on the program: “Let It Snow”
That’s because by 5 p.m. of last year’s Saturday concert, 14 inches of snow had fallen in Hagerstown, forcing organizers to cancel the weekend’s performances.
This year’s program will be the one that got snowed out in 2009, said Music Director Elizabeth Schulze in comments on the orchestra’s website — www.marylandsymphony.org.
“I always look forward to the Holiday Pops. We have such a great connection with the audience, and it’s such a pleasure to be able to present and perform with the other talented musical groups in our community,” she wrote in an e-mail.
Hagerstown Choral Arts is among them. All but a few of the ensemble’s 65 members will be part of the MSO celebration — as they have several times before.
Led in its 18th season by founding Director Gregory Shook, Hagerstown Choral Arts has a busy schedule this time of year. The chorus sang George Frederic Handel’s “Messiah” to a standing-room-only audience at Trinity Lutheran Church last Saturday. Community members got into the act in a sing-along rendition Sunday at Hagerstown Church of the Brethren.
Hagerstown Choral Arts will be joined in singing “O Come, All Ye Faithful” by the young voices of the St. Mary Catholic School Chorus. Ten third-graders will join fourth- through eighth-grade students who make up the ensemble. Schulze is slated to visit the Hagerstown school to rehearse with the children today.
“They are so excited,” said Pam Miller, who as choir director and music teacher, claims to have “the best job” — listening all day to kids sing — their voices “so pure and so beautiful,” she said.
A slightly older young voice also will be heard.
Kristen DiMercurio, 18, earned her solo spot on the MSO’s holiday program with her winning audition in the orchestra’s September 2009 vocal competition.
DiMercurio, who had performed leading roles in musicals while a student at St. Maria Goretti High School and in Hagerstown Children’s Theatre, describes the first semester of her freshman year in the musical theater Bachelor of Fine Arts program at Emerson College in Boston as “really wonderful.” On an early December weekend, DiMercurio said she was busy singing in three performances: a student-written mini-musical, a freshman chorus concert and a concert featuring Emerson’s a cappella ensemble, Acappellics Anonymous.
Her last exam and airline flight were scheduled for yesterday, so she’ll have a couple of days before the weekend’s concerts. “I’m really excited that it’s actually happening,” she said.
Another vocalist will be “home for the holidays.” Mezzo-soprano Tami Dahbura will return to her native Hagerstown and to The Maryland Theatre stage, where she performed in a 1978 production of “H.M.S. Pinafore.”
Dahbura has gotten used to traveling. Last September she was cast as a member of the ensemble and as understudy for four roles in the national touring company of the 2008 Tony-Award-winning Broadway musical “In the Heights.” She’s had a week at her California home after performances in Puerto Rico. The production will come to Hershey, Pa., and Washington, D.C., in March.
Dahbura studied theater arts with an emphasis in musical theater at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts. She traces her love of musicals to the Broadway cast albums played by her mother, Hagerstown resident Mary Dahbura.
Her career has taken her from New York’s off-Broadway stages to regional performing arts venues throughout the United States. She has soloed with several symphony orchestras.
Dahbura’s offerings this weekend range from “Ave Maria” to “Santa Baby.”
Jolly old St. Nick is expected, and the audience will be invited to join in a holiday sing-along.
MSO players will display more than musical talent.
“As always, I know I’ll be surprised and delighted by whatever the MSO musicians come up with in terms of festive attire and/or decoration during the ‘Sleigh Ride,’” Schulze wrote.
But fingers are crossed in hopes of no meteorological surprises.
If you go …
WHAT: Maryland Symphony Orchestra presents its annual holiday pops concert, “Home for the Holidays”
WHERE: The Maryland Theatre, 21 S. Potomac St., downtown Hagerstown
WHEN: 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 18, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 19
COST: Tickets for the concert cost $22 for adults, $18 for students and $12 for ages 12 and younger. Group rates are available.
CONTACT: Tickets may be purchased in person at 30 W. Washington St., Hagerstown from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday or by calling the MSO box office at 301-797-4000.
MORE: For information, visit www.marylandsymphony.org