WELCOME! It is a joy and a privilege to share this time together, and on behalf of all our musicians and members of the Board of Directors, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Wonderful Winter Solstice, Joyeux Noel, and a very happy and safe holiday season. We are delighted that you have chosen to share this evening with your Lions Gate Sinfonia at home in our “living room” of the Centennial Theatre. With the addition of our very special guest host, Jurgen Gothe, it will seem like the good old days at the CBC – live to air from Jurgen’s living room!
This is my favourite season of the year, with lots of great music and singing and dancing and food and family time. “Dancing?” you might ask. Yes, and with bells on – as well as tu-tus and tap shoes and amazing costumes! We are honoured to have a tremendous team of dancers from Pro Arte joining us for our annual Sinfonia Family Christmas. We’ve been calling it that for 13 years now, but never have we played music from that superb ballet Tchaikovsky set on Christmas Eve, The Nutcracker. The dancers from Pro Arte are very well-known here at home on the North Shore and around the province, and we have a very important team member in common; Michael Conway Baker is Composer-in-Residence for both organizations! It is a natural fit for us, since Michael is truly a wonderful musician and lover of the dance, and he has composed literally hundreds of works for orchestra, including several successful ballets. We are honoured to present a world premiere of his Aurora, composed especially for Sinfonia and Pro Arte for tonight’s performance. The dancers will also be featured in a couple of other very appropriate and seasonal treasures: the famous Les Patineurs (the Skater’s Waltz) by Emil Waldteufel, and Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring by J. S. Bach. As usual, we will all join in singing some holiday carols and songs, and maybe we can even get the younger audience members to lead us in Rudolph and Jingle Bells and Frosty the Snowman!
On the first page of the NY Times Arts and Entertainment section one day near the end of November, the headline read in big, bold letters, “Tis the Season of Sugar Plums!” OK, I’ll admit that sounds fun and catchy, but it just felt a bit early to me! We were still recovering from “Black Friday” and it wasn’t quite cold enough to see snowflakes falling on my nose and eyelashes… I just wasn’t in the Christmas Spirit yet! Now, however, Sugar Plums and snow are in the air (at least in the AREA!) and I am totally in the mood for the holidays!
I hope this finds you in the holiday spirit, too, and that you enjoy very safe and happy and warm days with lots of family and friends. Your presence here is truly a gift to us, and all of us at your Lions Gate Sinfonia thank you for your support and patronage all year long. We wish you a Happy New Year, too, and look forward to seeing you again in January for our next concert. Mozart and family will be in the air, along with great masters of the piano, Beethoven and Chopin. See you again soon at the Centennial!