Symphony in the Valley to perform ‘Nutcracker’ |

Symphony in the Valley to perform ‘Nutcracker’


WHAT: Nutcracker at the North Pole

WHERE: New Hope Church, 880 Castle Valley Blvd, New Castle

WHEN: 7 p.m. Friday

COST: $15 adults, $10 students and seniors, $45 family, and music students free

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

The Symphony began Dec. 8, 1993, when an upstart community orchestra was formed by Karin White and Chick Overington and played its first concert at the Glenwood Springs High School auditorium.

That fateful first concert started a holiday tradition that is alive and well in Garfield County today.

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” at 7 p.m. Friday 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 Aspen Santa Fe Ballet.

“It’s been five years since we have performed with dancers,” Thompson said. “We are looking forward to working with dancers again.”

The orchestra collaborated with the Glenwood Springs Center for the Arts dancers in 2008 for a performance of “Peter and the Wolf.”

A true community orchestra, Symphony in the Valley is all volunteers and comprises 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 25 years of the symphony,” Fitzgerald, who is the principal bass clarinet player, said.

Fitzgerald said 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, a 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,” she said.

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

Friday’s concert will include many holiday favorites and classics to help ring in the holiday cheer.

“This show has a great variety of music,” said John Bokram, principal trumpeter and orchestra member since 1994.

“My favorite piece is ‘Festive Fanfare,’ which we start the show with,” he said.

Thompson said the concert, which lasts just over an hour, will include 20-30 minutes of holiday songs and medleys followed by an intermission. After the break, the orchestra will play Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker Suite” to end the evening.

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

“Its really the only venue in town for musicians to come together to play for the community,” member Ruth Mollman added.

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