WASO marks anniversary with ‘A Cultural Celebration’

WORTHINGTON -- Seven is the lucky number for Tuesday's 7:30 p.m. concert of the Worthington Area Symphony Orchestra (WASO), set to take place at Worthington's Memorial Auditorium Performing Arts Center.

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

WORTHINGTON - Seven is the lucky number for Tuesday’s 7:30 p.m. concert of the  Worthington Area Symphony Orchestra (WASO), set to take place at Worthington’s Memorial Auditorium Performing Arts Center.


“We’re playing Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 to celebrate WASO’s seventh season,” said Christopher Stanichar, conductor of the community musical group for the past seven years.


“It feels like it’s been seven days to me because I’m still having a good time with WASO; there are wonderful people involved, and this is a great community.”



With 54 area musicians on WASO’s roster, the group is going strong as it prepares to present a concert that features a range of music and styles.


“Christopher had in mind to do some Mexican selections,” explained Melanie Loy, who, along with fellow musicians Beth Habicht and Karen Pfeifer, is part of WASO’s leadership team.


“So there’s a Hispanic flair to the concert’s first half, and a classically focused second half that features Beethoven’s seventh.”


According to Pfeifer, the orchestra members are enjoying the Mexican compositions and believe the audience will, as well.



“They’re really fun to play, and we’re always trying to expose both the orchestra and our audiences to new styles, so this qualifies,” said Pfeifer.


Added Loy, “The Mexican music has a different rhythmic feel that allows our orchestra to loosen up a bit.”


Arturo Marquez’s “Danzon No. 2” is on the program, along with “Paso Doble” by Eduardo Gamboa. Jose Padilla’s “El Relicario” will be performed with the aid of 14 members from the Worthington High School orchestra.


In addition, the concert will open with the Mexican national anthem - followed, of course, by the Star-Spangled Banner.



“The music for the Mexican national anthem is from the U.S. Army Music Library in Washington, D.C.,” revealed Habicht.


“We had to tell them about the performance and its purpose, and then they sent a PDF with all the parts. With that came a letter of instruction, because it is U.S. government diplomatic protocol that, when more than one national anthem is played on American soil, the U.S. anthem must be played last.”


Stanichar said the Mexican music is in honor of Cinco de Mayo.


“A lot of people don’t know much about Mexican composers, but the last century of composers from that country are fantastically colorful,” assured Stanichar.


“It’s wonderful music that sticks with you, involving lots of percussion, trumpet and piano. Audiences will appreciate it.”


Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 is widely known for its solemn, memorable second movement, which was featured in the 2010 Academy Award-winning British historical drama “The King’s Speech” starring Colin Firth.


“The second movement is quite famous,” concurred Stanichar. “Beethoven wrote only nine symphonies - less music overall than, say, Schumann - but it’s more concentrated and it’s always a great joy to play Beethoven.”


“We performed Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony for WASO’s fifth anniversary year, but the seventh is more challenging,” said Loy.


“Beethoven’s later works are more rigorous and more involved for the musicians.”


WASO’s seventh anniversary concert, “A Cultural Celebration,” takes place at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Memorial Auditorium Performing Arts Center, 714 13th St., Worthington. Reserved seating tickets may be purchased at the box office from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays, by calling 507-376-9101, visiting or at the door. There is a reduced admission price for students.

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