A FULL AND HAPPY HOUSE FOR LSO HOLIDAY CONCERT 2018
The LaGrange Symphony Orchestra’s holiday concert drew a full house on a very chilly winter night on Tuesday December 11th. Smiles were plentiful as Patrons came out of the cold into a warm and inviting lobby that was buzzing with chatter, greetings, hugs and laughter. Filled with long-time friends, new acquaintances, and loving families, this was truly a holiday gathering rich with kindness, affection and good will.
The concert hall was alive with holiday cheer as was the stage with musicians gathering. The LSO, under the direction of Dr. Richard Prior, delivered classics from Leroy Anderson and Pyotr IIyich Tchaikovsky in the first half of the concert with a heartwarming and happy touch. There is something special about Christmas music and the images they create in your mind’s eye. Sleigh Ride and A Christmas Festival are two pieces that really transport you to a holiday wonderland, especially when you hear them performed live. Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite evokes similar feelings and images. Smiles and nods of approval could be seen across the audience when each of the eight sections began. I’m sure there were visions of dancing, presents, mice, and nutcracker soldiers as the suite progressed.
Once intermission began, there was more activity as folks visited, chatted, and discussed the upcoming premiere. The excitement increased as the long procession of singers came in and filled the stage. The two choirs, singing with the LSO in this second half, were the Choral Society of West Georgia, under the direction of Bettie Biggs, and the Lafayette Christian School Chorus, under the direction of Darlene Shaw. The composer, Rob Kirby, a detective with the City of LaGrange, also sings with the Choral Society and was onstage for the performance. This unified choir was 68 strong!
Two compositions premiered, not just one. Glory to God in the Highest was first and Away in a Manger followed. Both were penned by Mr. Kirby. “Very beautiful,” were words used by conductor Richard Prior in introducing the pieces. Both songs praised God in a very radiant and gentle way. Kirby’s orchestration of the instruments with SATB voices was heavenly. The audience was captivated and exploded with applause at their conclusion.
Dr. Prior invited the composer and the two choral directors front and center to be recognized. In this photo with Rob Kirby in the center, Bettie Biggs is on the left, and Darlene Shaw is on the right next to Dr. Prior.
After that, it was time for the audience to join the choir in singing carols that were led by the Symphony. Dr. Prior donned a festive red scarf, and with a swish, the carols began. This is a holiday tradition that unifies the audience and the performers as a true community. For the final number, the Choir and Symphony performed a Randol Alan Bass arrangement of We Wish You a Merry Christmas. With joyful applause, the concert ended and the area around the stage was elbow-to-elbow with congratulations and merry wishes for the holidays.
Thank you for supporting the arts in LaGrange, and especially the LaGrange Symphony Orchestra.
Merry Christmas everyone! May your home be filled with music and happiness in 2019!