HAGERSTOWN — Maryland Symphony Orchestra Music Director Elizabeth Schulze had the audience hum the eight bass notes of Johann Pachelbel’s Canon in D Major, then jokingly asked the Sunday matinee crowd if it was available for the symphony’s holiday concert.
One of the most well-recognized classical compositions — Pachelbel’s Canon was featured in a 1980’s GE light bulb commercial and has been in numerous films such as “Ordinary People,” the piece led off a program of baroque music for the symphony’s MasterWorks II concerts at The Maryland Theatre in downtown Hagerstown.
Lois MacCumbee, 68, of Hagerstown, said she’s performed Pachelbel’s Canon as part of the handbell choir at St. Ann Roman Catholic Church.
“I like it. I love this kind of music. It’s a very entertaining afternoon. It’s peaceful. It’s restful,” MacCumbee said.
MacCumbee attended the concert with Sister Corda, both of whom are retired teachers from St. Mary Catholic School in Hagerstown.
“I like the lilt that the music has. You can see the peasants dancing around to (Johann Sebastian Bach),” said Sister Corda, 84.
Denise Duddleson, 87, said she likes baroque music because it’s “very orderly.”
“I like (George Frideric) Handel a lot. And I love listening to Elizabeth Schulze talking. It’s so much more interesting when she’s told you all of these interesting things,” Duddleson said.
Denise Duddleson said she also appreciated the free ticket her husband, Bill, received as a veteran.
In honor of Veterans Day, the symphony reached out to some Washington County veterans organizations to offer free admission to this weekend’s concerts for veterans associated with those organizations, MSO Executive Director Tamara Nuzzaci Park said. It also gave the symphony a chance to welcome some new audience members, she said.
Park said she was pleased with the turnout. Attendance figures were not provided.
There appeared to be at least 200 people sitting in the main floor seating.
Bill Duddleson, a World War II veteran who lives in the Williamsport area, also appreciated the preconcert talk that included the history of the composers.
“That doesn’t happen very often” at other symphonies’ performances, he said.
Other compositions performed Sunday included Bach’s Suite No. 1, C Major; Giovanni Battista Pergolesi’s Sinfonia in F Major, and Antonio Vivaldi’s Concerto for Violin, Two Horns, Two Oboes and Bassoon in F Major.
The Vivaldi and Pergolesi pieces were out of print, but scores were available so the individual parts were written for the concert based on the scores, symphony librarian Marianne Gooding said.
“We never miss the concerts,” said Kathy Shrader, who teaches orchestra at North Hagerstown High School.
“I love the way she staged” Pachelbel’s Canon, Shrader said.
The 12 violinists and cellists were separated into groupings for the first violinists, second violinists, third violinists and cellists. Gooding said. They lined up at the front of the stage with the violinists standing for the performance. The harpsichordist was behind them.