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MSO bring Christmas music 'Home for the Holidays'

December 18, 2010|By ALICIA NOTARIANNI | alnotarianni@aol.c
  • The Maryland Symphony Orchestra performs with Hagerstown Choral Arts Saturday night at The Maryland Theatre in Hagerstown.
By Joe Crocetta, Staff Photographer

HAGERSTOWN — It was a concert that was more than a year in the making.

Maryland Symphony Orchestra Executive Director Andrew Kipe said “Home for the Holidays” was scheduled to be performed in December 2009. Then, more than 2 feet of snow blanketed the Hagerstown area and organizers were forced to cancel the show.

“We had it all lined up, so we just said, ‘Well, we’ll do it next year,’” Kipe said. “We’re thankful for the good weather this year.”

“Home for the Holidays” celebrated the season Saturday night at The Maryland Theatre with a presentation of the Hagerstown area’s home-grown musical talent.

The orchestra opened the affair with Leroy Anderson’s “A Christmas Festival.” The piece is a colorful arrangement of eight traditional Christmas carols, ranging from a reverent “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” to a hustling and bustling “Jingle Bells.”

The orchestra’s attire added a visual kick to the concert. Men sported red bow ties and cummerbunds. Music Director Elizabeth Schulze donned a red sequined tunic that looked nearly electric when she moved to conduct.

Hagerstown Choral Arts chimed in with offerings including Daniel Pinkham’s “Gloria in Excelsis Deo” and John Rutter’s “Mary’s Lullaby.”

Tami Dahbura, a Hagerstown native who has performed internationally, graced the stage looking reminiscent of a delicate snowflake in a light blue gown. The first of her solo pieces was J.S. Bach and Charles Gounod’s “Ave Maria.”

“(Dahbura) is a remarkable artist who was raised here and went on to find a great deal of fame,” Schulze said. “She was gracious enough to return, and I am thrilled to have her come back to grace our stage.”

Also performing as a solo artist was Hagerstown’s Kristen DiMercurio, 18, who is just beginning her artistic career. DiMercurio is a freshman studying musical theater at Emerson College in Boston.

“Last year, we held a sort of miniature ‘American Idol,’” Schulze said. “We heard many remarkable voices, but one stood out among them. That was the voice of Kristen DiMercurio, who was a senior at St. Maria Goretti High School.”

DiMercurio wore a festive emerald gown and delighted the audience singing “Believe” from “The Polar Express.” Schulze called the young singer back out for a second bow to the enthusiastic crowd following her performance.

The last song before intermission began with a surprise chorus of children’s voices from the back of the house. Students from the St. Mary Catholic School Choir joined the orchestra and Hagerstown Choral Arts singing “O Come All Ye Faithful.”

Michael and Young Sigl of Hagerstown attended the concert. Their daughter, Claire Sigl, 9, sang with the St. Mary choir. Michael Sigl said he thought it was a remarkable endeavor to bring such an array of local soloists and musical groups to perform on stage together.

“I think it’s great that the orchestra is touching so many aspects of the community,” Sigl said. “It’s like they are bringing the community into the concert.”

If you go
What: The Maryland Symphony Orchestra presents “Home for the Holidays,” its annual holiday pops concert
When: Today, 3 p.m.
Where: The Maryland Theatre, 21 S. Potomac St., Hagerstown

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