DuPage Symphony Orchestra wraps up 2021-22 season with ‘Celebrations’
What does it mean to celebrate despite all the difficulties, obstacles and problems? It means showing the strength and power of life, positivity and hope for a bright future.
The DuPage Symphony Orchestra emerged from the pandemic even more determined and passionate than before, as the challenges it faced only strengthened the spirits of musicians and their love for classical music.
For a grand finale to the 2021-2022 season, the DuPage Symphony Orchestra teams up with a popular Naperville Chorus featuring Roy Harris’ remarkable “Folk Song Symphony for Chorus and Orchestra”.
The “Celebrations” themed concerts will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 30 and 3 p.m. on Sunday, May 1 at the Wentz Concert Hall in Naperville.
It is important to note that the DuPage Symphony Orchestra has been named Community Orchestra of the Year 2021. This success is due in large part to the enthusiasm, dedication and hard work of DuPage’s Music Director and Conductor Orchestra, Barbara Schubert.
“The DuPage Symphony musicians are thrilled to resume rehearsals and performances for the 2021-22 season,” Music Director Barbara Schubert said at the start of the season. “The events of the past year and a half have had a profound effect around the world, prompting us all to embrace our global connections and strive to correct the imbalances in society. Choosing the repertoire for the year ahead , I have tried to reflect on the very serious challenges we face, and also celebrate the unique ability of great music to comfort, inspire and unite people from all walks of life.”
Yes, it was a good season. To cap off its year-long musical odyssey with “Reflect and Celebrate”, the orchestra will begin the “Celebrations” concert program with the remarkable Folk Song Symphony for Chorus and Orchestra by Roy Harris. He will join the popular Naperville Chorus, under the direction of Jeordano Martínez. The Naperville Chorus, founded in 1976, is dedicated to the advancement of choral music, the presentation of choral programs, and the encouragement of cultural music in the community.
“As the fourth of Harris’s 13 numbered symphonies, this seven-movement work features an eclectic mix of cowboy songs, ballads, spirituals, and American frontier marching songs, all in the richly musical language of melodic and skillfully orchestrated from a mature master,” says the DuPage Symphony Orchestra website.
Roy Harris was one of America’s most prolific symphonic composers. However, his works are best known only in America. Harris wrote his Fourth Symphony in 1940. It is based on American folk songs from the 19th century, particularly from the Civil War period (1861-1865).
“The work opens with the song ‘The Girl I Left Behind Me’ and ends with ‘When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again,’ two famous tunes from the Civil War,” Harris wrote of this symphony. “To express the longing for loneliness, I have chosen two of America’s most beloved lonely songs, ‘Bury Me Not On the Lone Prairie’ and ‘He’s Gone Away.’ For Negroes – who so admirably represent our nation both in war and music – I chose this wonderful witty “From Trumpet Sounds It In My Soul” I wrote the chorus parts for the panoply of good high school choirs, with the thought that such choirs might have a work to prepare with the symphony orchestras of our cities.”
This gala program will continue with a selection of popular American spirituals in lush settings by William Dawson, sung by the Naperville Chorus alone. Dawson was an African-American singer, songwriter and music teacher. Her rich musical heritage has become the basis of her music, including arrangements of folk songs and original compositions. His magnificent spiritual arrangements and original pieces have been celebrated by choirs and audiences since their first publication and have become among the most performed choral works for concerts, competitions and festivals.
Copland’s engaging “Tender Land Suite” will conclude this program of festive concerts. Composed in 1958, “Tender Land Suite” is based on Copland’s only complete opera and is arranged from its score. It includes the love duet, lively square dancing and the beautiful and moving The Promise of Living.
The emotional conclusion of this composition will sum up the idea of the whole concert program and the idea of the whole concert season. We will continue to live, we will continue to enjoy music and we will continue to find inspiration in it.
A free pre-concert talk with Duff Harris will be offered on Saturday, April 30. The conference begins at 6:45 p.m. in room 138.