South Bend Symphony plays annual family concert at Notre Dame

South Bend Symphony plays annual family concert at Notre Dame

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) – Do you want to build a snowman? Well, how about listening to The Snowman?

The South Bend Symphony Orchestra played its annual family concert on Sunday at the University of Notre Dame’s DeBartolo Performing Arts Center.

“We’re at the South Bend Symphony’s annual family concert featuring The South Bend Symphony and Mark Doerries and the Notre Dame Children’s Choir,” said Justus Zimmerman, executive director of the South Bend Symphony Orchestra. “They’re doing The Snowman, which is this great, beautiful, animated short film about a boy discovering his best friend is a snowman, and they go meet Santa, and the music is just incredible.”

Based on the Raymond Briggs’ children’s book sharing the same name, the stage adaptation by Howard Blake showcases a full orchestra with its unforgettable soundtrack.

“The children’s choir, the symphony, it sounded like a fun experience, and these two sat still and paid attention the whole time, so that goes to show you how good it was and how entertaining,” said South Bend Resident Jessica Horvath.

Families and kids of all ages were welcomed to start the festive season off by hearing classic holiday music and a story of a boy who crosses paths with a friendly snowman.

“I kind of liked it because where the sad parts, the person that was reading he would like slow, and it was sad, and I actually cried at the end where the snowman melted,” said Emily, a young concert-goer who was excited to start the holiday season.

“They’re also going to do some traditional holiday tunes, including ones you may know and also some you may not know, so it’s going to be a really varied program of holiday music and themed music,” noted Zimmerman.

The Symphony Orchestra has played Ghostbusters, Día de los Muertos, and The Snowman in less than a month. Asking him how they could play such varying styles in such short succession, Zimmerman said, “Thankfully, our musicians are all incredible, they’re all professionals, and this is what they do day in and day out. They go from Hollywood to Mariachi music, to children’s Christmas music like that. It’s one of the most magical things about what we do.”

This is the beginning of the Symphony Orchestra’s winter schedule.

“Southold Dance Theater; we’re collaborating with on The Nutcracker for the first time, I think, in 20 years,” said Zimmerman. “So, we’ll be playing live while they dance to The Nutcracker. It’s one of the most popular traditions in town, and we’re so glad we can be back providing live music. It’s going to be a magical holiday season this year. There’s a lot to do.”

The South Bend Symphony Orchestra will play the Nutcracker with Southold Dance Theater at the Morris Performing Arts Center on December 9 through 11 and again at the Morris with Home for the Holidays on December 17 and 18.

“Home for the Holidays at the Morris Performing Arts Center, that’s the big Christmas extravaganza with the South Bend Symphony Orchestra, fun for the whole family,” added Zimmerman.

Mark Doerries, conductor, composer, and performance artist works for the University of Notre Dame as Mellon Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in Music and Interdisciplinarity and Lilly Conductor for the Notre Dame Children’s Choir.

The University of Notre Dame’s Children’s Choir is in its 10th season and welcomes singers from birth to age 17.

“Well, you know, our music director Alastair Willis says this is the most important concert we do because he does a great job translating the music for the kids and becoming a really engaging presence on stage so that kids get exposed to this new form of classical music for them,” said Zimmerman. “Usually, classical music isn’t as popular as it used to be, and so the kids get to interact with it and get this grounding in some foundational music.”

The SBSO winter family concert is part of the Shein Trust community series.

The artists included:

The South Bend Symphony Orchestra

Alastair Willis, Music Director

Mark Doerries, Guest Conductor

Dallin Baldwin, Guest Conductor

Notre Dame Children’s Choir

The program included:

  1. Arr. Stephen Mager – DING DONG MERRILY ON HIGH
  2. Howard Blake – THE SNOWMAN feat. Mark Doerries, the narrator
  4. Arr. Stephen Mager – KLING, GLOCKEN, KLING
  5. Olatunji/Whalum – BETELEHEMU
  6. Leonard Cohen – HALLELUJAH

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