LISTENING LARGE The LaGrange Symphony Orchestra set a new record during Tuesday’s season finale. This concert had the greatest number of adult musicians ever for a regular instrumental LSO concert! This concert, titled The World’s Embrace, which included both Mendelssohn and Mahler works, required seventy-seven (77) musicians. How special and fitting for a grand finale, which closes a truly remarkable season with this record-breaking ensemble.
A SPLENDID SELL OUT! Performing for a sold-out Callaway Auditorium, under the direction of LSO music director and conductor Dr. Richard Prior, the stage at the Embrace LIFE concert was full of youthful enthusiasm. It was the first day of Spring and this concert, just like the weather, came in like a lion. Beginning with the annual side-by-side, the LaGrange Symphony and the LaGrange Symphony Youth Orchestra, filled the space with music that was high-spirited and dramatic. The LSYO studies under the direction of Celeste Myall and these students were very well prepared to perform Antonin Dvorak’s Slavonic Dance in G minor. Although in a minor key, this music has an enormous amount of positive energy. From the first phrase, the great variation in intensity and feeling made it alive and vibrant. Just as dancers need to stay on their toes through this piece’s twists and turns, so do the musicians. If you haven’t experienced the annual side-by-side in LaGrange, you are missing out. As these young artists gain experience and mentoring, the audience is rewarded with excellent musical entertainment. This Slavonic Dance by Dvorak will be hard to top next year, it was that good!
“Music I grew up with”, “This was truly a fun evening” THE “EMBRACE THE SPIRIT OF THE SEASON” CONCERT – VIBRANT! Holiday spirit was plentiful as friends and families gathered for this colorful LSO concert with guest artists Jason Coleman, grandson of Floyd Cramer, Meagan Taylor, great-niece of Chet Atkins, and the Young Singers of West Georgia. Everyone in the audience seemed to know each other as multiple groups used this opportunity to have a holiday outing together with the people they enjoy. Many were dressed in red, green, silver, and gold holiday colors, and I saw at least one Santa hat in the audience. The LSO were dressed in their formal tuxedos but, from where I was sitting, I could see some fun red and green socks that made me smile.
The LaGrange Symphony Orchestra served up a heart-warming “CLASSICS” concert with two works by Beethoven and the wonderfully famous Piano Concerto by Edvard Grieg. This was a rare opportunity to hear Beethoven’s Overture to the Creatures of Prometheus and Symphony No. 1, which are both great pieces that are often undervalued for live performances. First on the menu was the Prometheus Overture that was both full and delicately flavored. This is not a very long piece, but it has great variance and juxtaposed passages that amazingly translate into a strong, confident, melodious work. There was nothing timid about it, and the LSO excelled at its vigorous changes in energy.
It’s no wonder that the LSO’s “Embrace the Silver Screen” concert has been the talk of the town. This uplifting and exciting concert, under the direction of Richard Prior, had power and punch that just made you say, “Oh, Wow!” Composer, John Williams has scored well over 100 films and this concert was a celebration of his work. The lobby was buzzing with a diverse crowd of all ages. How terrific to see this level of enthusiasm spanning generations. For many it was truly a family affair and a great introduction to live orchestral music.