Audience favorite ‘Carmina Burana’ to close Springfield Symphony season

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

Retiring chorale director Basil Fett to be honored.

A concert more than three years in the making will send the Springfield Symphony Orchestra’s (SSO) 2022-2023 season out in style, as well as celebrate the accomplishments of a longtime contributor.

Audience favorite “Carmina Burana” was set for the 2019-2020 finale, but the pandemic had other plans. SSO conductor and music director Peter Stafford Wilson stayed resilient to have the classic performed with the help of the Springfield Symphony Chorale, and to send off longtime Chorale director Basil Fett, who is retiring after 17 years.

Tickets are still available to join the celebration in song at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Clark State Performing Arts Center.

“Carmina Burana” is based on 24 poems originally created by Benedictine monks in Bavaria and described in program notes as “uproarious, intoxicating and sublime” and one of the most popular works in the SSO’s repertoire. It’s been performed twice in Wilson’s tenure, selling out once and close to selling out a second time, giving him high hopes for Saturday.

“Carmina Burana is an audience favorite. We are counting on the public to make this a great event this time out as well, particularly as we celebrate Basil Fett,” said Wilson.

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Also performing will be Carl Orff, Jennifer Jill Araya, Daniel Stein and Michael Romer along with the chorale.

It is always a joy to have the SSO Chorale with us as it further allows us to touch our audience in a special way,” Wilson said. “Seeing friends and neighbors onstage is a unique way to engage our audience that makes them more a part of the performance.”

Fett has worked as chorus director, vocal instructor and baritone soloist over the years. The SSO will honor his contributions both during the concert and following with the “It’s a Wrap” reception afterward in the Turner Studio Theatre. Light hors d’ oeuvres and drinks will be available at the event.

“Basil helped us rekindle the chorale that had gone through a multi-season hiatus,” said Wilson. “We have enjoyed many great artistic achievements together from Vaughan Williams’ ‘A Sea Symphony’ to Mahler’s ‘Symphony No. 2,’ the Requiem settings of Mozart and Verdi, and many more too numerous to count.”

Coming off the pandemic that saw limited show opportunities and a return last season, SSO leadership worked hard to put together a memorable season that would get people excited about having this talent right in Springfield when a lot of major cities’ symphony programs have folded in recent years.

It started off strong with legendary violinist Itzhak Perlman, followed by guest performers Spencer Myer and Candice Hoyes. It included variations such as a holiday program showing the classic “Home Alone” with a live orchestra doing the score and the visual splendor of Troup Vertigo Cirque Fairytales.

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“This season has been all about attracting audiences back to the Kuss. We are delighted with the response we have enjoyed, but look forward to even more enthusiasm for the orchestra next season,” Wilson said.

Audiences can catch the SSO over the summer with its usual slot at the 57th annual Summer Arts Festival on July 9, at its Lunch on the Lawn series at the Springfield Museum of Art later in the summer and the Springfield Jazz and Blues Festival, Aug. 11-12.


What: Springfield Symphony Orchestra “Carmina Burana”

Where: Clark State Performing Arts Center, 300 South Fountain Ave., Springfield

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 29

Admission: $42-68

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