Austin Symphony Orchestra to partner with chorus, dancers

Published 4:31 am Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Austin Symphony Orchestra is once again filling the halls with music.

The orchestra’s annual Christmas concert will take place at 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9, inside Knowlton Auditorium.

Yet the annual show will be a little different this year, as the orchestra is partnering with the Jane Taylor Academy of Dance and the Austin Symphony Chorus for several classic pieces, including “The Nutcracker Suite” by Tchaikovsky and Z. Randall Stroope’s “Hodie.”

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“We’re trying to get more involved with other community organizations,” said Marge Dunlap, the orchestra’s business manager. “When everyone participates, then it’s the more community spirit you have and the bigger audience you get.”

The concert will feature dancers portraying various characters from the famous ballet, such as the Nutcracker Prince, the Sugar Plum Fairy, Clara, the Angels and many others.

The Austin Symphony Chorus, directed by Sonia Larson, will be accompanied by the orchestra on several numbers, including “Hodie.” This three movement work opens with a rendition of “Christus Natus est Hodie!” (“Christ is Born Today!”) in 7/8 time. The second movement begins with a chant, then slowly builds to a climax proclaiming “Salvator Apparuit” (“the Savior Appears”). The final movement starts with a choral fanfare, then progresses to a rhythmic setting of Gloria in Excelsis Deo. The chorus will also join the orchestra and Jan Gilbertson on keyboard, on “A Garland of Rutter Carols,” which includes the “Angels’ Carol,” “Candelight,” and “The Shepherd’s Pipe Carol.”

The orchestra will also perform the crowd-pleasing “Polar Express Concert Suite” by John Williams and Silver Bells, arranged by the orchestra’s tuba player Mark Woeste.

Tickets are available at Hy-Vee, The Coffee House on Main, or at the door the day of the event. Students through high school are free. Tickets and more information are available at or by calling Marge Dunlap at 507-433-5647.