On Saturday night Music Director Michael Hall executed a fun-filled and enthusiastically received holiday concert entitled “Pops Goes the Holidays” to a full house at Unionville High School. The program offered a full and varied menu that ran the gamut from jokes from Santa Claus to a premier dance performance done to Bach’s Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D Major.
The beginning of the concert “Hark the Herald Angles sing” was played in different musical modes arranged by Ted Ricketts. This was followed by the Old English ballard “Green Sleeves” that has a legendary tale that it was allegedly written by King Henry V111 to woo Ann Bolyn. As Hall explained this was not the proven fact.
The symphony then performed a dramatic presentation of Bach’s orchestral suite 3 with eight dancers of Philadanco. Many people have heard of the acclaimed Philadanco dance company, but not many have seen them, and they are formidable. Philadanco is a professional modern dance group of black dancers who perform an arresting mix of modern and classical movements, delicate ballet gestures and lifts and leaps, plus even sliding splits. While the orchestra played brilliantly, it was hard not to keep ones attention on the fast movements of the dancers who performed with split second timing on a strip of stage front about the width of a sidewalk.
They received enthusiastic applause and a well deserved standing ovation. The combined perfection of the orchestra and the strength and agility of the dancers was truly awe inspiring.
About 100 children of the Kennett Symphony Children’s Chorus under the direction of the Eileen Keller performed “The Time Of Snow” and “Christmas On Broadway” (well known popular songs with a seasonal theme).The four groups of the chorus had serenaded in various locations around the building before the concert.
At a symphony fundraising auction two symphony supporters had won the “honor” of appearing with the symphony during this performance. One by JR Schmitt, who conducted the orchestra in “God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman” (this young man did splendidly), and longtime supporter of the symphony, Edythe Joins, won the chance to perform with sleigh bells throughout the performance of Leroy Anderson’s “Sleigh Ride.” Their performance received great approval.
The orchestra then led the audience in a singalong, which left the audience in a very festive mood in the beginning of the Christmas season.
Caryl Huffaker received her bachelor’s degree from Middlebury College in Vermont. She did graduate work in Poetry at the University of Vermont and in theater at Columbia University in New York. Her book, “Inside the Hornet’s Nest” on North Carolina politics was used as a text book in the schools. She worked for five years at the DuPont Company writing product information booklets and technical bulletins.