Symphony Society presents Christmas concert
Nov. 13, 2012 “I heard the bells on Christmas Day; their old familiar carols play, and wild and sweet the world repeat of peace on earth, good will to men.”
The Susanville Symphony Society holiday concert brings to life those poetic words by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow at 7 p.m., Friday, Dec. 7 and 2:30 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 9. There is a special $10 student discount ticket for Sunday’s concert. Both concerts will be held at Susanville Assembly of God Church located on Richmond Road. Tickets may be purchased at Leslie’s Jewelry in Susanville or by calling 257-2920.
Christmas spirit! That’s what this concert series is all about. For its 10th anniversary season, the symphony will surely get you in the holiday mood with music and singing. The symphony will introduce the newly formed Susanville Choral Society directed by Liudmila Mullin.
The choral society joins the musicians to take the audience on a journey from Christmas carols of old — those sung by candlelight honoring the birth of Jesus to an American Indian carol of the Christmas story. The “Huron Carol,” written by Jean de Brebeuf, is a Canadian hymn written in 1643 in the native language of the Huron/Wendat people. The melody is from a traditional French folk song, “Une Juene Pucelle” (“A Young Maid”). In 1926, English lyrics were written. The Baby Jess is born in a lodge of broken bark and swaddled in a robe of rabbit skin. Hunters rather than shepherds surround him and the chiefs bring him fox and beaver pelts instead of the familiar gold, frankincense and myrrh. The hymn also uses the traditional Algonquian name, Gitchi Mantou, for God.
Hymns have a way of stirring our hearts to why we celebrate Christmas, but current versions of holiday music add to Christmas happiness. One more modern but definitely a classic the last 20 years is the “Home Alone Suite,” from the highest grossing comedy film of all time, “Home Alone.” The funny film tells the story of 8-year-old Kevin McCallister who is mistakenly left behind when his family flies to Paris for their Christmas vacation. While initially relishing his time by himself, Kevin soon has to outwit two burglars and learn some lessons about love. John Williams composed the film score including the film’s theme song, a holiday favorite, “Somewhere in My Memory.” The film also features “O Holy Night” and “Carol of the Bells.”
And as a special 10th anniversary treat, the symphony’s own Karen Foster will direct the Lake Almanor Bells. This handbell choir was organized in 1991 when the Chester Community Chorus purchased three octaves of Schulmerich English Handbells. Later, because of a generous gift from the Thomas Family Foundation, a fourth octave was added. Currently, the members range from age 13 to 71. Judie Crain, Carol Deurloo, Jan Eveland, Alex Harr, Dan Harr, Georgia Knutsen, Meridith Rosendahl and Rhonda Williams ring all 50 handbells and a number of handchimes.
The smallest bells weigh 8 ounces each and are frequently rung “four-in-hand,” in which a ringer will have two bells in each hand. The largest bell weighs in at 5 pounds. A variety of techniques are used for special sounds, such a martellato (striking the bell on a padded table) and mallets, which are used to strike the bell producing a different sound.
This year the Lake Almanor Bells will use a new technique called singing bell. The bell is stroked with a leather-covered dowel to produce a sustained blend of harmonic resonances and rich overtones.
The concert will provide a little bit of everything Christmas to its audience and according to Conductor Ben Wade, there may even be a few madrigal singers thrown in as well. The concert series tends to sell out early, so don’t wait too long to get your tickets to start off the Christmas season in style.
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