Steamboat Symphony Orchestra presents annual holiday concerts
December 1, 2011
Steamboat Springs — Steamboat Symphony Orchestra music director Ernest Richardson barely has had a moment to breathe since he arrived in Steamboat a few days ago. He's led rehearsals for five ensembles, worked with soloists, offered a workshop with a local high school band and visited schools.
But one moment stood out during his whirlwind week. He was visiting an elementary school class at Christian Heritage School, where the group already had listened to "The Lark Ascending," a poetic classical music piece by English composer Vaughan Williams.
When Richardson asked them what they thought about the music, one young girl replied, "It makes me feel very calm."
Richardson was touched.
"It's a great description of the music, but what's great about that is that she felt the music could affect her state of being," he said. "When children have this visceral response to music, it affirms its power. It just takes a moment to be presented to someone, and slowly it becomes more and more meaningful."
The Steamboat Symphony Orchestra will perform Williams' "The Lark Ascending" this weekend at its two holiday concerts, which are family-friendly events.
The annual celebration of classical and holiday-themed music is at 7 p.m. Saturday and 5 p.m. Sunday at Strings Music Pavilion.
Tickets are $35 in advance and $40 at the door. Student tickets are $10, and children younger than 12 are admitted for $1.
The program begins with Bach's Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D Major, a majestic and effervescent piece that Richardson feels embodies holiday spirit.
After Williams' "Lark" offers serene visions from the perspective of a bird's flight, there will be an intermission.
Holiday themes will shine in the second part of the concert, beginning with "We Wish You a Merry Christmas."
The Yampa Valley Singers choir will make an appearance, performing three songs from the "Home Alone" movie soundtrack. Richardson himself will sing the whimsical "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch."
A group of young Steamboat music students will perform a new Richardson arrangement of "Lo How a Rose E'er Blooming." Continuing in the youthful theme, Richardson will bring children from the audience onstage to play percussion instruments during "Sleigh Bells," which has become an endearing tradition during the past few years.
"It's endlessly entertaining because kids are endlessly fascinating," Richardson said about watching the youngsters jingling their instruments with awe. "When you take something like Christmas and look at it through a child's eyes, it opens up a whole new meaning."
— To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204, email ninglis@SteamboatToday.com