“Seeing a performance by the Colorado Springs Philharmonic is such a great way to deeply experience and appreciate the season,” said Thomas Wilson, Associate Conductor for the Colorado Springs Philharmonic. “Music and the holidays go hand-in-hand, so it’s a really special opportunity to see the best orchestra in this part of the country – paired with a phenomenal chorus, ballet and hand bell ensemble.”
Three unforgettable events adorn the holiday months to festively fill the Penrose-St. Francis Holiday Performance series. The Nutcracker, Christmas Symphony and New Year’s Eve concert take place at the Pikes Peak Center for the Performing Arts. Each event will be conducted by Thomas Wilson, who has many special arrangements prepared that will come to life.
Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker receives rave reviews every year. On Thanksgiving weekend, the Philharmonic will be joined by the Oklahoma City Ballet and Colorado Springs Children’s Chorale to tell this classic story of a girl who receives a toy nutcracker from her godfather, which transports her on a mystical journey of fantasy and fun. “It is a truly beautiful production, and this year we’ve added a performance on the afternoon of Black Friday, so that families have something to do other than shopping – something more peaceful and inspiring,” said Wilson. The Nutcracker will be presented at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on November 24; 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on November 25; and 2 p.m. on November 26.
The Christmas Symphony sells out every year, so be sure to secure your tickets soon. The annual performance, taking place on December 17 at 2:30 p.m., brings together the CS Philharmonic, Colorado Springs Chorale and the Pikes Peak Ringers. “The Pikes Peak Ringers are the best hand bell ensemble in this part of the country,” said Wilson. “The world of hand bells is like a small lake, but the ensemble’s director Kevin McChesney is like a whale in that lake – anyone who has done anything with hand bells has done one of his arrangements or compositions. He is very prolific and brilliant in that medium.” Wilson is also excited to have Mayor John Suthers join and narrate ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.
There is no better way to end 2017 than with a magnificent evening of music. The concert will conveniently begin at 7:30 p.m. on December 31, and end by 9:45 p.m. so attendees can get to their later New Year’s Eve events – and with a glimmer of stardust in their eyes from the performance. “Every year we try to do a variety type of program for the New Year’s Eve concert. This year we are leaning a slight bit more to classical and light opera, but will still have Broadway and other contemporary pieces,” said Wilson. Two wonderful vocalists will take the stage this year – Eapen Leubner, tenor and Amy Maples, soprano. “Eapen is a wonderful person, with a great voice and is very engaging with audiences, and Amy is a fantastic soprano with an uncanny high range, so we’re really excited about this concert,” Wilson said.
Wilson conducts approximately half of the 40 or so performances that the CS Philharmonic presents each year. “Since I was a kid, music is the only language I ever spoke,” he said. He started out in the CS Philharmonic’s trumpet section, then was selected as a conductor for a performance, and with his success began conducting more and more concerts until being named associate conductor. “I have a great relationship with the Philharmonic – I am a very lucky person.”
Wilson prepares something completely different each year for the Penrose-St. Francis Holiday Performances. “I hope that will keep people excited to come back year after year, because each time it is a very new experience with new offerings,” he said. “For any families who want to sit down and enjoy the company of loved ones, while savoring a moment of peace for the soul, a concert is a great way to do it.”
To learn more visit csphilharmonic.org or to buy tickets call 520-SHOW.