Orchestra promises a spirited concert

MCO trying something new at this year’s holiday show

KINGMAN - Christmas has long distinguished itself among the holidays by inspiring a wide range of traditional and modern music unique to the season, and Kingmanites will have a chance to hear plenty of that music in person when the Mohave Community Orchestra puts on a 90-minute Christmas symphony at White Cliffs Middle School this Saturday.

According to conductor Art Swanson, the concert will feature a variety of traditional Christmas music, including five movements from Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker Suite" as well as the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel's "Messiah."

"We're also doing 'Twas the Night Before Christmas,' with narration by Harry Schuerer," Swanson said. "The orchestra's never done anything like that before, so we'll see how it goes."

The orchestra will also conduct an audience sing-along of more conventional Christmas songs, including both secular and religious-themed classics. "It's the more solemn stuff, I guess you would say - 'Joy to the World,' 'Silent Night,'" Swanson said. "We're also doing 'It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year' and 'Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.'"

The concert begins at 7 p.m. in the school's auditorium at 400 Grandview Ave. Admission is free, however, the orchestra is requesting donations of $5 to go toward expenses.

"Music is very, very expensive, and every piece of music we play runs between $80 and $100 at least, so it all adds up," Swanson said. "But we don't hold anybody to (donating). We'd rather have people there, that's the most important thing."

Attendees are urged to arrive 30 minutes early for optimal seating.

Established in 1995 by Peggy Mabry, the Mohave Community Orchestra features about 40 musicians from all over the county. Members vary from young to old, with skill levels ranging from amateur music aficionados to experienced professional musicians. Swanson, himself a 26-year veteran of the U.S. Navy Band, became conductor eight years ago and has since watched the orchestra continue to grow and evolve.

"We have more string players right now than we ever had, and we've always had a really good wind section; woodwinds and brass," he said. "We're not the New York Philharmonic, but I guarantee you, the audience will enjoy the show."

For more information, call (928) 753-3902.