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WASO holiday concert is Tuesday evening

WORTHINGTON --Whether you're young or merely feel that way, the annual holiday concert of the Worthington Area Symphony Orchestra (WASO), set for 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Memorial Auditorium Performing Arts Center (MAPAC) is designed to make your hea...

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The Worthington Area Symphony Orchestra rehearses Thursday evening at Memorial Auditorium Performing Arts Center in Worthington. (Tim Middagh/Daily Globe)

WORTHINGTON -Whether you’re young or merely feel that way, the annual holiday concert of the Worthington Area Symphony Orchestra (WASO), set for 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Memorial Auditorium Performing Arts Center (MAPAC) is designed to make your heart sing.

  “Our concert theme is ‘Music for the Young and the Young at Heart,’” noted Beth Habicht, a WASO violinist and member of the organization’s leadership team.

  “To me, all the music we’ll perform Tuesday is beautiful.”

  The concert marks the start of WASO’s seventh year, and 53 musicians will share the stage under the baton of conductor Dr. Christopher Stanichar.

  “WASO’s November concert always feels like the holiday season’s kickoff,” said Tammy Makram, MAPAC’s managing director.

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  “The symphony has built such a reputation for itself that you’d better reserve or purchase your tickets soon because they’re selling well; I love that.”

  A seasonal selection, “Sleigh Ride” by Frederick Delius, will open the concert.

  “It’s a delightful piece, with sleigh bells and the imitation of horses’ hooves,” said Habicht.

  “I know it’s going to get people in the holiday mood if they’re not already there.”

  While Habicht said everyone in the orchestra enjoys the “Festival of Christmas Carols” and music for a Christmas sing-along (both composed/arranged by Dan Goeller) that will conclude the concert, her personal favorite on the program are the selections from “Swan Lake” by Tchaikovsky.

  “It’s so melodic and expressive,” explained Habicht. “I tend to like Tchaikovsky anyway, but at this time of year people are more used to hearing his ‘Nutcracker Suite,’ so this is a change from that.”

  A concert highlight will be Camille Saint-Saëns’ “The Carnival of the Animals.” Two Steinway grand pianos, played by three pianists (including Karen Skog and Kurt Haag, both teachers in Worthington, and Brett Cooper from Sioux Falls, S.D.), will be part of the dynamic performance.

  “It’s going to be incredible, with two Steinways involved, and so exciting that we have two local pianists being featured,” said Makram.

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  “What a treat it is,” added Habicht. “The audience will be delighted and proud to hear two of our fine local musicians playing at such a high level of expertise.”

  Habicht sometimes shakes her head in wonder at the remarkable way WASO has flourished over the past seven years.

  “We are so grateful for the many people and businesses that have been sponsors and contributors to our cause,” affirmed Habicht.

  “And so many others have supported WASO by attending our concerts; it’s important to us that the people of the Worthington area ‘own’ this symphony through their involvement, and that has really happened.”

  Habicht mentioned that while major Legacy grants from the Southwest Arts and Humanities Council enabled WASO to get its start, other local grants (from the Worthington Area Foundation and Sanford, for instance) have allowed for the purchase of permanent orchestra equipment and other necessities.

  “We’re thankful for our many contributors, and for the good-sized audiences that encourage us at each concert,” said Habicht, who is assisted on the WASO leadership team by Melanie Loy and Karen Pfeifer.

  And Makram, speaking on behalf of area music aficionados, returns the praise.

  “It doesn’t matter where you live - whether in outstate Minnesota or a metropolitan area - when you’re willing to be open to enjoying different things, you will benefit,” said Makram.

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  “We’re really fortunate to have WASO here; it’s amazing to have a symphony orchestra in Worthington.”

  The Worthington Area Symphony Orchestra performs its 2016 holiday concert, “For the Young and the Young at Heart,” at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Memorial Auditorium Performing Arts Center, 714 13th St., Worthington. All seats are reserved; tickets may be purchased in advance at the box office from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays - or call 376-9101 or visit www.friendsoftheauditorium.com . Tickets will also be available at the door.

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