Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

December 10, 2018

REVIEW: Springfield Symphony Orchestra, A Holiday Celebration

Springfield Symphony Orchestra, Springfield, MA
December 8, 2018
by Jarice Hanson

Holiday concerts are expected to have at least a smattering of familiar tunes and seasonal jokes, but the Springfield Symphony Orchestra’s holiday program also celebrated the diversity of the community and the talent of many musical artists with a program that left the audience with a smile on their faces and warmth in their hearts.

From the time conductor Nick Palmer bounded onto the podium in red pants with candy canes, members of the Symphony, and the Springfield Symphony Chorus treated the audience to seasonal favorites and some special numbers that captured the magic of the holiday season.

Special guests including the Children’s Chorus of Springfield, Mary Lambert, Cantor Elise Barber, the Extended Family Choir, and young Brynn Cartelli, winner of NBC’s “The Voice” entertained the enthusiastic audience with songs and musical renditions that reflected a myriad of musical styles appealing to all ages. It was obvious that many families were introducing their youngest members to an evening at the symphony, and the children were treated to a few special appearances by Santa, who at one point, ascended the podium and conducted “Sleigh Ride” with some comic hip swings and an appropriately jaunty attitude.

The first hour of the concert featured a number of familiar tunes along with Cantor Elise Barber’s soulful interpretation of “Ki Eilecha” and “Ocho Kandelikas,” but the second hour left no doubt that the Springfield Symphony Orchestra is a first class musical organization. Their two selections, “Wizards in Winter” and “Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24” were breathtaking in their complexity, complementarity, and musicianship.

All received a well-deserved standing ovation for providing the sold-out audience with an evening of warmth and heart, despite the frigid temperature outside.