Symphonic Band, Madrigal Singers, Choir and Chamber Ensemble to Perform During Weekend

MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. – Four of SUNY Orange’s performance ensembles will offer holiday concerts during the weekend of Dec. 11-12, with the Symphonic Band taking the stage at Middletown’s Paramount Theatre on Saturday evening and the Madrigal Singers, Choir and Chamber Ensemble showcasing their talents on the College’s Middletown campus throughout the weekend.

The band, under the direction of Kevin Scott, will feature a vibrant musical rendition of Clement Clark Moore’s “’Twas the Night Before Christmas,” with SUNY Orange theatre professor Max Schaefer serving as narrator for the performance. The concert will begin at 8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 11 at the Paramount. Admission is $5 with current SUNY Orange students and active duty military personnel admitted for free.

The College’s Madrigal Singers, directed by Christa Damaris, will open the weekend with a 3 p.m. performance Saturday in the Morrison Hall Music Room. This free concert will be held in conjunction with SUNY Orange’s annual holiday open house. The Chamber Ensemble, led by Hilarie Clark Moore, will fill Morrison Hall with traditional holiday music at 1 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 12. The SUNY Orange Choir and Madrigal Singers will cap the weekend’s musical schedule in Orange Hall Theatre at 3 p.m. Sunday.
Admission to both Sunday performances is free as well.

In addition to the performance of Moore’s immortal poem, the band’s concert offerings will consist of new arrangements of familiar Christmas tunes alongside two award-winning compositions: the first complete performance of Douglas Townsend’s “Three Christmas Fantasies” for concert band and Kathryn Salfelder’s “Cathedrals,” which will be receiving its first Orange County performance by the band.

Townsend, who will be celebrating his 90th birthday next year, gained national recognition when one of his first orchestral works was premiered by the CBS Symphony Orchestra under the legendary Bernard Herrmann. The three fantasies, which are based on the songs “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” “Silent Night” and “The Wassail Song,” have been performed on separate occasions, but the performance by the SUNY Orange Symphonic Band will be the first time that all three works have been performed as a group.

Salfelder, currently a graduate student at Yale University, won the 2008 ASCAP/CBDNA Frederick Fennell Award for “Cathedrals.” Its thematic material is based upon Gabrieli’s “Canzoni Primi Toni,” and it has received more than 50 performances worldwide since its premiere by the Arizona State University Wind Ensemble in September 2008.

Rounding out the remainder of the concert will be Alfred Reed’s arrangement of Ernest Gold’s Academy Award-winning music for the 1960 film ”Exodus,” James Curnow’s “Overture to a Winter Festival,” Eric Whitacre’s “Lux Aurumque” and Leroy Anderson’s “A Christmas Festival.”

The Choir’s Sunday afternoon concert will feature pieces by Ludwig von Beethoven, Johann Sebastian Bach, Bendetto Marcello, Benjamin Britten and John Rutter, as well as unique arrangements of traditional carols and Handel’s “Hallelujah” chorus. SUNY Orange student Kyle Montross, of Monroe, N.Y., will perform a bell solo.

The Choir and Madrigal Singers will also make their annual appearance at the Hospice Tree Lighting Ceremony at the Galleria at Crystal Run on Friday, Dec. 3. The groups will perform on the mall’s main staircase as part of the 6 p.m. event.

SUNY Orange’s performance ensembles are comprised of students and community members. All four events on Dec. 11-12 are sponsored by the College’s Arts and Communication Department. For more information, contact the Arts and Communication Department at (845) 341-4787. The SUNY Orange Symphonic Band is also seeking musicians. Interested performers may contact Scott at (845) 341-4393.

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Mike Albright
Communications Officer
115 South Street
Middletown, NY 10940