Symphony in the Valley to perform Nutcracker | AspenTimes.com

Symphony in the Valley to perform Nutcracker

Kyle Mills
Glenwood Springs Post Independent

For nearly a quarter century, the Symphony in the Valley have been orchestrating performances of live classical music for Roaring Fork Valley audiences.

What began Dec. 8, 1993, when an upstart community orchestra formed by Karin White and Chick Overington played their first concert at Glenwood Spring High School Auditorium.

That fateful first concert started a holiday tradition that is alive and well on the Western Slope.

Led by conductor and Music Director Kelly Thompson, who joined the group in 2001 and has served as the music director since 2013, the orchestra will perform Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker Suite" today at 7 p.m. at New Hope Church in New Castle.

For the first time in years, the orchestra, which will be accompanied by dancers from Artilluma Dance Company of Rifle and Marisa Gorst and students from the School at Aspen Santa Fe Ballet.

"It's been five years since we have performed with dancers," Thompson said.

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"We are looking forward to working with dancers again."

The orchestra collaborated with the Glenwood Springs Art Center dancers in 2008 for their performance of "Peter and the Wolf."

A true community orchestra, Symphony in the Valley is all volunteers and comprised of all ages and experience levels.

"We have high school students, college students, young adults, adults and senior citizens," Orchestra President and flutist Ruth Mollman said.

One of the original founding members Patrick Fitzgerald still performs with the orchestra to this day.

"I've only missed one concert in the twenty-five years of the symphony," principal bass clarinet Fitzgerald said.

Fitzgerald says he is not a natural musician, and that it is a challenge each time.

"It's something I really enjoy,' Fitzgerald said

"We have some nice music to play, with the 'Nutcracker Suite' being the high point."

For one of the youngest members Reagan Thompson, 12 year-old percussionist and the daughter of the conductor, it is a really exciting experience playing with the group.

"It's fun to tell all my friends I'm in a professional symphony," Reagan said.

She admitted with a chuckle that most of her friends don't really know what that means.

Friday's concert will include many holiday favorites and classics that will ring in the holiday cheer.

"This show has a great variety of music," principal trumpet and orchestra member since 1994 John Bokram said.

"My favorite piece is 'Festive Fanfare', which we start the show with."

Thompson said the hour-long concert will include 20-30 minutes of holiday songs and medleys followed by an intermission. After the break, the orchestra will play Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker Suite" to end the evening.

The orchestra will do a free encore performance Saturday at 8 p.m. at the Ute Theatre in Rifle. The concert will follow the Hometown Holiday Parade of Lights.

"It's really the only venue in town for musicians to come together to play for the community," Ruth Mollman added.

kmills@postindependent.com

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