Springfield Symphony to host finale Saturday

Credit: Courtesy photo

Credit: Courtesy photo

The Springfield Symphony Orchestra (SSO) knows how to do up a season finale. The 2021-2022 season will close on such a note by highlighting “the cradle of great symphonic music” by bookending two composers who illustrate that notion as inspiration and will bring along the SSO Chorale to complement it.

The program “Bach to Wagner” will highlight German composers Johann Sebastian Bach and Richard Wagner at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 21 at the Clark State Performing Arts Center.

Tickets are still available and the show is appropriate for all audiences.

This has been a special season in a variety of ways. It marked SSO conductor and music director Peter Stafford Wilson’s 20th season with the group and returned to a full schedule after a 2019-2020 season cut short by the pandemic and the 2020-2021 season limited to one show due to pandemic restrictions.

There were still hurdles for Wilson to overcome to present a show that reflected his intentions and was worthy of the audience.

“This program has been altered slightly to adhere to the last vestiges of COVID,” he said. “We wanted to keep the chorale numbers to a smaller scope so that singers could rehearse together without fear of a virus-spreading event. Unfortunately, that would mean cutting the original Verdi Sacred Songs that I had hoped to offer because it requires a chorus of over 100.

“But I seized the opportunity to do some of my favorite Bach choruses from the sublime ‘Dona Nobis Pacem’ from the ‘B Minor Mass’ to the equally poignant ‘Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring’, these are all choruses that have very special meaning to me.”

Wilson reflected on the landmark season, expressing appreciation for those who stuck with it and is incorporating it into his future endeavors.

“While our audience is still hesitant to come back from the pandemic, those in attendance have been very enthusiastic and generous in their support,” he said. “One thing I have learned in preparing for the future is that no one seems to be the slightest bit interested in seeing me retire, so here’s to another 20.”

While this wraps this season, the SSO and some of its affiliated groups will be active this summer. The SSO will team with the Springfield Museum of Art for Music at the Museum program focusing on Composers of Color on June 3.

The SSO will play its usual Summer Arts Festival set on July 10 that will celebrate the music of Ukraine and Imperial Russia with the 1812 overture with choir, canon, church bells, brass band and fireworks. Wilson also gave an early weather report it won’t rain that day.

The SSO will partner again with the Museum of Art for the four-week Lunch on the Lawn series starting in late July. The group will also have its annual Flavors fundraiser on July 30 and the SSO Jazz Orchestra will perform at the inaugural Springfield Jazz and Blues Festival the weekend of Aug. 19-20.

Wilson is also already looking forward to 2022-2023, hinting the best is yet to come.

“Next season is going to sizzle,” said Wilson. “I think I am more excited about it than any season in my previous 20. I know I say that every year, but we’ll be accompanying a legend and it just gets better from there. We are pulling out the stops in our mission of bringing audience members into the Kuss Auditorium to celebrate this fabulous orchestra.”

To purchase tickets for Saturday’s concert or for more information on future SSO programs, go to www.springfieldsym.org/.

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