SO Symphony concert features ‘Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra’

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SOUTH ORANGE, NJ — The South Orange Symphony’s free family concert on Sunday, Jan. 29, at 3 p.m. will showcase all the instruments of the orchestra through a lively sequence of musical favorites. Music lovers from ages 3 to 120 are welcome to the South Orange Middle School Auditorium, 70 N. Ridgewood Road. Susan Haig conducts the orchestra of 50-plus musicians, who rehearse Tuesday evenings. 

The concert features Benjamin Britten’s “The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra,” in which each instrument and section has a solo turn. This is the time and place to hear how all of the orchestra’s different-sounding instruments fit together.

After intermission, the South Orange Symphony partners with the SOMS Early Morning Chamber Orchestra, with Director Bill Cook, on the adventurous “Iditarod,” a musical celebration of the annual 1,000-mile dog sled race through the Alaska wilderness. Fifty-five string players will fill the stage!

During the intermission there will be an instrument “petting zoo” where children and parents can hold and try out the stringed instruments. Orchestra members will be on hand to answer questions and give impromptu demonstrations.

The program includes a variety of popular works that illustrate a broad range of styles and emotions. There is Sergei Prokofiev’s march from “The Love for Three Oranges,” in which a prince, cursed by a witch to fall in love with three oranges, storms off to find them.

In “Danse Negre,” British composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor integrates traditional African folk rhythms into symphonic forms in a lively, upbeat composition. He was fascinated by his African heritage and effectively connected indigenous and concert forms.

The first movement of Ludwig van Beethoven’s First Symphony in C Major demonstrates the special energy and striking creativity Beethoven brought to the classical forms perfected by Joseph Haydn and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

It may not be graduation season, but anytime is a good time for Edward Elgar’s famous “Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1.” When it was first performed in 1901, the audience was so entranced that it called for an encore. Then a second encore. The orchestra will play the complete march, along with the hit tune.

Photos Courtesy of John Tierney