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Music from 'West Side Story' concludes Maryland Symphony Orchestra's 2012-13 season

April 22, 2013|By DAVE McMILLION | davem@herald-mail.com
  • Elizabeth Schulze, music director and conductor of the Maryland Symphony orchestra speaks about the musical selections performed during the last concert of the 2012-2013 season, Orchestral Dances on Sunday at the Maryland Theater in Hagerstown.
By Colleen McGrath/Staff Photographer

Sunday’s performance by the Maryland Symphony Orchestra had a decidedly different sound to it as the group offered its rendition of music from “West Side Story.”

Among the highlights was the emphasis on percussion, and the instruments were varied.

There was a rainstick, which simulated falling rain, and another instrument that was meant to re-create the sound of thunder.

“You will hear a lot of sounds you would hear in nature,” Maryland Symphony Orchestra percussionist Julie Boehler told a crowd before Sunday’s show.

Boehler said eight percussionists were to perform in Sunday’s concert and Music Director Elizabeth Schulze talked about the members “reaching here, pulling that” to create their percussive sounds.

The program opened with “Symphonic Dances,” music extracted by Leonard Bernstein from his musical “West Side Story.”

The performance also featured “Three Latin American Dances,” written by pianist and composer Gabriela Lena Frank. Frank credits Bernstein as one of her influences.

“West Side Story” tackles themes of love, prejudice and clan hatred, and Schulze said the production was used as a way of teaching people how to get along while she was growing up in Michigan.

Schulze said the story resonated with the tragedy of the bombing at the Boston Marathon and she dedicated Sunday’s performance to the resoluteness of the people of Boston.

The show came at the end of the MSO’s 2012-13 season, which Schulze called “one of our most splendid.”

Doris J. Nipps, president of the MSO’s board of directors, said she saw the show Saturday night and “it was fantastic.”

Sunday’s show was to conclude with Suites Nos. 1 and 2 from Maurice Ravel’s “Daphnis et Chloë.”

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