Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

December 12, 2016

Springfield Symphony Orchestra: It's A Wonderful Life!

Symphony Hall, Springfield, MA
December 4, 2016
by Eric Sutter

It was a wonderful concert... the Springfield Symphony Orchestra under direction of guest conductor Nick Palmer brought out a sense of wonder in the season with the Springfield Symphony Chorus and the Children's Chorus of Springfield. "We Need A Little Christmas" set the tone for great musical beginnings and warm moods of connection in good cheer.

Cantor Morton Levson sang "There Are Stars" in an amazing voice that resonated a heartfelt joy. SSO accompanied him on "A Heart of Wisdom" with loving sentiments and a powerful message of cherished beauty of life. This is what makes it a wonderful life... teach us to number our days and love the moment.

Gifted chorus director Nikki Stoia led the Symphony Chorus in "Oh, Christmas Tree" which flooded the audience with fond memories of joy. Audience participation ensued with a clapping beat of joy urged on by Stoia. Santa Claus appeared to announce WMASS newsman Dave Madsen to the stage for a reading of "Twas the Night Before Christmas" with the strings moving the story wonderfully while the percussion accented with fun sound effects at appropriate times. The Children's Chorus sang selections from "Frozen" in endearing harmonic voices. The Orchestra's "Carol of the Bells" worked a magical spell of delight. Symphony Hall was decorated with a large wreath above the stage and a garland of smaller wreaths strung around the balcony posts. This is certainly a large venue, yet at the same time it seemed cozy.

"It's A Wonderful Life" completed the hometown atmosphere. "Minor Alterations" featured woodwinds and strings mixing classics with Klezmer to a rousing finish. "Stille Nacht" with the simple beauty of piano to start combined added instruments and voices for glorious effect. "Sleigh Ride" made for fun musical moments with percussive horse hooves, whip, and sleigh bell sounds. Humorous seasonal dialogue between Santa and the conductors led to a warm and fuzzy audience sing-long. “The Hallelujah Chorus” from The Messiah brought the house down for a wonderful finale!