Discriminating music lovers may enjoy the sounds of a good symphony, but there are some folks out there who feel as though the program is often over their heads. Granted an argument could be made against either side, saying the latter just need to broaden their palette and expose themselves to music that doesn’t involve Justin Beiber or Nickelback, or saying the former are simply snobs.
Nevertheless, whether you’re a snob, or you need to broaden your horizons, this Christmas season appears to be a win-win for everyone when the Toledo Symphony Orchestra brings its “Happy Holidays” show to the Ritz Theatre in Tiffin.
Want to go?
WHAT: “Happy Holidays” with the Toledo Symphony Orchestra
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 22
WHERE: The Ritz Theatre, 30 S. Washington St., Tiffin
COST: $15 to $50
“It’s fun, it’s entertaining and you get to sing along with us,” said Toledo Symphony Orchestra employee Sandra Clark, who for the past 22 years has played the French horn in the outfit.
Currently in its 68th season, the Toledo Symphony is led by internationally renowned-conductor Jeffrey Pollock. This year’s program includes festive numbers such as “Dance of the Tumblers from The Snow Maiden,” “Good King Wenceslas,” “A Festival of Carols,” “Petersburg Sleigh Ride,” “O Little Town of Bethlehem” and “A Christmas Festival.”
“We’re bringing in an arrangement of ‘The First Noel,’ which of course is a famous Christmas song,” Clark said. “You may be thinking, how exciting can that be? Orchestras like to play music that features the virtuoso capability of the musician in interesting and different ways. So we seek out music that has been arranged by people who know what an orchestra is capable of doing. The person who arranged ‘The First Noel’ is named Carmen Dragon. For decades he was the conductor and arranger for the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. And he’s the father of Daryl Dragon, who is The Captain in The Captain and Tennille.”
Something that’s become somewhat of a tradition for the Toledo Symphony Orchestra is Pollock’s penchant for toy moments.
“Now kids can play with toys that move and talk but hundreds of years ago toys didn’t do anything,” Clark said. “So composers would write pieces that tried to depict toys moving. There are a lot of these and we’re doing one of those from a ballet called ‘The Magic Toyshop.’”
Another expected highlight, which is somewhat personal for the Toledo Symphony Orchestra is an arrangement of “Greensleeves” by Chip Davis, who is the visionary behind Mannheim Steamroller. A native of Toledo, Davis used to play the bassoon in the Toledo Symphony.
Overall, Clark is optimistic no matter who attends the upcoming symphony show in Tiffin, they’ll open their ears to something great.
“There are a lot of people that would tell you they don’t like ‘symphony’ music,” Clark said. “What they mean by that is they don’t want to hear us play Beethoven or Brahms or Bach. They don’t want to hear us revel in our artistry but they’ll go to a James Bond movie or to see ‘Star Wars’ and they’ll love the music. By coming to a Christmas concert played by the symphony, they’ll hear music they know and they are already familiar [with]. And it’s going to sound like it’s coming out of a film.”
She added, “and we hope they’ll walk away feeling more in the spirit of the season.”