SBSO concert to feature Broadway greats alongside local talent

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Following their widely praised 89th season opening concert in October, the San Bernardino Symphony Orchestra will return to the historic California Theatre of the Performing Arts December 2 for their annual holiday concert. Entitled “Holiday Scenes,” the performance will feature Broadway stars, Dale Kristien and Bill Hutton, as well as elite choral ensemble Loma Linda Academy Pro Musica under the direction of Kristian Leukert. The playbill will include a variety of holiday music inclusive of both classical and popular pieces.

“We wanted to offer an evening that would be as appealing to fans of traditional classical music as it is for families seeking an entre to the holiday season,” said Symphony Board President Dean McVay. “While a departure from our usual concert fare, we believe the dazzling range of music in this family-friendly event is the perfect combination to delight our valued audience.”

The evening will open with Giovanni Gabrielli’s triumphant Canzona per Sonare No. 2 performed the antiphonal style in which it was written. The first half will also include Johann Sebastian Bach’s Dona Nobis from High Mass in B Minor, long considered one of the composer’s greatest vocal works.

Following, members of the Orchestra will take a brief pause for an A cappella performance of Guy Forbes’ powerful yet sensitive version of the canticle, Magnificat. Also known as the Song of Mary, it is one of the eight most ancient Christian hymns and is traditionally incorporated into the worship services of numerous faiths.

Guest conductor Corey Hirsch will complete the first half of the concert with three orchestral masterpieces he especially selected for this performance. Fans of Laguna’s Pageant of the Masters may be familiar with Hirsch who conducts the Pageant’s orchestra each season. He is also well known for his conducting of numerous Hollywood theatrical productions and projects with the Disney corporation, thus making him a particularly suitable choice to lead a concert of this scope.

The first of Maestro Hirsch’s selections is Pytor Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 1, specifically chosen for its foundational contributions to the composer’s The Nutcracker Suite, sections of which the Orchestra has performed at the three previous holiday concerts. Next will be the Overture and Scene 1 of Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s ballet Der Schneemann (The Snowman). Written when this noted composer of film scores was just 11 years old, Der Schneemann is highly predictive of Korngold’s later use of rich musical textures and virtuoso orchestrations. The second half will conclude with Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s lively Dance of the Tumblers from the opera The Snow Maiden.

Following a brief intermission, the evening will take a more lyrical turn as Kristien and Hutton take the stage to perform five Broadway favorites by Andrew Lloyd Webber: All I Ask of You , Close Every Door, Any Dream Will Do, Think of Me, and Music of the Night.

“We felt a great opportunity would be missed if we did not incorporate the best known songs of our featured soloists who are so well known for their work on the Broadway stage,” explained McVay.

You might remember Dale Kristien for her portrayal of Christine Daae in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “The Phantom of the Opera,” a role she played for over 1,700 performances, both on Broadway and for the entire in Los Angeles run with the original Phantom, Michael Crawford. She first appeared on Broadway in Camelot starring the original stage King Arthur, Richard Burton, followed by the original film King Arthur, Richard Harris. She then played the role of Magnolia on Broadway in the Houston Grand Opera production of Show Boat starring Donald O’Connor.

Her counterpoint, Bill Hutton, created the role of Joseph in the original Broadway production of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” for which he received a Tony Award nomination. His list of credits include numerous Broadway and off-Broadway roles, and was honored with a LADCC nomination for the role of Marvin in the West Coast premiere of William Finn’s “In Trousers.” As a producer, Hutton was a part of Catalina Production Group, Ltd, a film, stage and television production company, producing and running The Coast Playhouse in West Hollywood. He is currently involved with new Broadway shows including Bette Midler’s “Hello Dolly,” “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” “Something Rotten,” and “Dear Evan Hansen.”

The second half will conclude with a blend of traditional and contemporary holiday favorites including Leroy Anderson’s Sleigh Ride, Franz Schubert’s Ave Maria, Harry Simeone’s version of Little Drummer Boy, Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane’s Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Adolphe Adams’s Oh, Holy Night, and Jill and Sy Miller’s Let There Be Peace on Earth with which the Orchestra has closed each proceeding holiday concert.

And if that is not enough, we have it on good authority that within this winter wonderland of sight and sound, Santa Claus himself will be in attendance, and may bring along a special friend or two.

The concert is made possible through a generous grant from the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians.

“We were thrilled with the generosity of the Tribe,” said Dean McVay. “They have always been the first to step forward and support local programs that benefit the arts.”

The concert will begin at 7:30 p.m. at the historic California Theatre of the Performing Arts, 562 W. 4th Street, San Bernardino. A pre-concert talk will be provided at 6:30 by Maestro Hirsch and is free with your ticket.

Tickets, which begin at just $10 for students and active military, may be purchased by calling (909) 381-5388 or on-line at www.sanbernardinosymphony.org. General admission tickets are also available with limited availability at the theater box office prior to each event.

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