The West Shore Symphony Orchestra begins its new season, the first under the baton of conductor Jennifer Sacher Wiley, with a free family concert on Saturday at 11:15 a.m., and at 3 p.m. Sunday with a masterworks concert.
Both events will be held at the Carlisle Theatre, located at 40 W. High St., in Carlisle. Tickets and information can be found at www.westshoresymphony.org.
The masterworks concert will commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation and will feature music written in the five eras since this history-changing event.
Wiley had been talking about this milestone with colleagues at Susquehanna University where she teaches, and has been excited to get the opportunity to develop this theme. “It’s been really interesting to use this concept as a hook for the first West Shore Symphony masterworks concert,” she said. “It provides so much possibility for educating and enlightening our audiences.”
The family concert will feature a youth-friendly journey through the same 500 years. Audience members will meet famous composers who come back to life through an educational scripted drama that showcases young actors and excerpts from the masterworks program.
During the masterworks concert, the orchestra will perform Monteverdi’s Overture to L’Orfeo, which was written in 1607; Bach’s Sleepers Awake, which was written in 1731; Mozart’s Divertimento for Strings, which was written in 1788; Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 5 Reformation, which was written in 1830; Mahler’s Rückertlieder, which was written between 1901-1902; and Patrick Long’s, Double Secret Probation, which is a modern day composition. A free concert lecture giving background on each of these selections will be offered by Wiley at 2:15 prior to the nasterworks concert.
The concert will also feature soloist Corrine Byrne, a soprano who will perform Mahler’s beautiful Rückertlieder with the orchestra. This composition includes a “song cycle” of five stunning Lieders, or German poems set to classical music.
Like Wiley, Byrne also teaches at Susquehanna University. “She’s brand new of our faculty this year, so this is my way to get to know her,” Wiley said. “She’s a fantastic musician and performs beautifully. This performance will be the kick-off to her career in central Pennsylvania.”
Another highlight of the concert will be a performance of Long’s Double Secret Probation, and an appearance by the composer. The title, Double Secret Probation, is a direct reference to National Lampoon’s “Animal House,” which came out in 1979. The work is named after a scene in the movie where the dean of the school is about to put the boys on probation, only to find that they are already on probation.
“So the piece is ridiculous, but you can hear pompous administrators in it, and you can hear disrespectful, jerky kids in it too,” Wiley said. “Patrick Long himself is a percussionist, so his music really has lots of exciting percussion parts that the audience will thrill at.”
Tickets for the masterworks concert are $15 for general admission, $12 for seniors, and free to children 12 and younger.