Maitland's Symphony Orchestra to perform "From Russia With Amore at Christmas" concert

The holiday concert takes place at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 9 at the Maitland Presbyterian Church.

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  • | 12:31 p.m. November 30, 2018
  • Winter Park - Maitland Observer
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From espionage-inspired tracks to Christmas classics, the Maitland Symphony Orchestra’s upcoming concert is sure to be a one-of-a-kind performance.

The concert, called “From Russia with Amore at Christmas,” will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 9 at the Maitland Presbyterian Church, 341 N. Maitland Ave. Tickets cost $10 and can be purchased at the door or online. 

Under the direction of Artistic Director Alvaro Gomez, “From Russia With Amore at Christmas” will feature selections of works by Dmitri Shostakovich and Benny Goodman, as well as Christmas favorites such as “Sleigh Ride.” The concert even includes a medley of songs from some James Bond movies. 

“It’s going to be a very wide-ranging concert,” said Jeff Flowers, president of the Performing Arts of Maitland and principal violist of the Maitland Symphony Orchestra. “We’re touching on some pretty challenging works. The Shostakovich fifth symphony, fourth movement is a pretty dynamic piece (we’re playing). We’re also reaching back to the original writer of ‘Sleigh Ride,’ (Wolfgang) Amadeus Mozart, and then we also play the American, more well-known (version of) ‘Sleigh Ride’ by Leroy Anderson.”

“We kind of like to mix some pop (music),” said Jeff’s wife, June, the executive director of the Performing Arts of Maitland. “We know our audience is really diverse. … We like to mix it up (with the music).”

The name of the concert is inspired by the wide variety of works being featured. Gomez, who studied at the Moscow Conservatory of Music, actually met Shostakovich decades ago and wanted his music to be continued to be played. Jeff Flowers said the Russian composer created some of his works under the abusive rule of Joseph Stalin — a relationship he compares to the story of Herod and Christ. 

In addition to a medley of Christmas classics and works from James Bond films, the concert also will feature music from Italian composer and violinist Ottorino Respighi — hence the Italian word for love, “Amore,” in the concert title, Jeff Flowers said.

“The title kind of tells it all,” Jeff Flowers said. “We’re playing 007, we’re playing Shostakovich, we’re playing ‘Pines of Rome’ (by Respighi). … We’re also doing a lot of Christmas-themed pieces, and we’re also doing ‘Moonglow’ (by Benny Goodman), an American piece for clarinet.”

The James Bond medley includes various songs from different Bond movies, and the Christmas medley — called “A Christmas Festival” — will incorporate some help from the audience.

“(The) James Bond medley is (composed of) about five pieces out of various James Bond movies (such as) ‘Goldfinger’ (and) ‘You Only Live Twice,’” Jeff Flowers said. “‘A Christmas Festival’ is really almost a sing-along with the audience. It touches on … about eight different Christmas/holiday songs that are popular.”

June Flowers said the selection of challenging music for the upcoming concert is uncommon for a typical community orchestra, but because some of the members of the Maitland Symphony Orchestra — which has 85 members — have been playing together for so long, they are able to take on the challenging pieces.

“These are not selections for a typical community orchestra,” June Flowers said. “This orchestra has been together for 15 years. Some of the original players are still there. … These people love to come.”

“This (concert) is going to be fantastic,” Jeff Flowers said. “With these Christmas pieces, you’re going to leave there knowing you met Santa Claus.”

Guests will be able to mix and mingle with orchestra members at a reception following the concert performance. Funds collected from the concerts will go toward operating expenses of the Performing Arts of Maitland. The Maitland Symphony Orchestra is just one of the groups that are part of the Performing Arts of Maitland.


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