The Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Maestro Julien Benichou, will usher in the holiday season with a program of orchestral and vocal music at the Holiday Joy concert at 7:30 p.m., Friday, Dec. 6, at the Mariner’s Bethel Church, Route 26 and Central Avenue, Ocean View, and at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 7, at the Cape Henlopen High School auditorium, Kings Highway, Lewes.
This year, the MSO will showcase two world-renowned vocalists, bass-baritone Kevin Short and soprano Esther Jane Hardenbergh. Short is thrilling audiences around the globe in a wide range of repertoire, performing with Canadian Opera Company, Paris' Opera Comique, Grand Theatre du Luxembourg Oper der Stadt Koln, Teatro Comunale di Bologna, Theater Basel, and Theater Bern. He has performed multiple roles with the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. He also enjoys an active concert schedule and has worked with important orchestras in the U.S. and around the world. Short received his training at Morgan State University, BS; the Curtis Institute of Music, MM; and the Juilliard School of Music Opera Center. While attending these institutions, he was a prize winner in numerous competitions.
Hardenbergh has sung extensively in the United States and Europe in opera, oratorio and recital. She made her debut at Carnegie Hall in 1999 as winner of the International Opera Singer Competition and is highly respected as an interpreter of recital repertoire, in particular 19th century German Lieder and 20th century American Art Song. She has appeared with such orchestras as Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Memphis Symphony, Atlanta Baroque Symphony, Richmond Symphony, Alabama Symphony, Miami Bach Society, Handel Choir and Orchestra of Baltimore, Las Cruces Symphony Orchestra, Boulder Philharmonic, and the Naples Philharmonic Orchestra. Hardenbergh holds degrees from the University of Richmond, Bachelor of Music Education; Boston University, Master of Voice-Opera Performance; and a doctorate in Music and Music Education, specializing in Vocal Pedagogy from Teachers College, Columbia University. She is currently associate professor and department chair of the Department of Vocal Performance at the University of Miami, Frost School of Music.
Joining Short and Hardenbergh are talented vocalists from the University of Miami, Frost School of Music: soprano Mary Claire Curran, mezzo-soprano Katherine Wiggins, and baritone Jeffrey Williams. In addition, MSO Concertmaster Nicholas Currie will perform “Winter” on the violin from Vivaldi’s "Four Seasons." Between seasonal favorites like “White Christmas,” “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” ”O Holy Night” and “Twelve Days of Christmas,” there will be orchestral interludes with Leroy Anderson’s rousing “Sleigh Ride” and waltzes from Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker Suite” and other pieces. This festive concert will conclude with an uplifting sing-along of the “Hallelujah Chorus” from Handel’s “Messiah.”
Concerts will also be held at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 5, at the Avalon Theater, East Dover Street, Easton, Md., and at 3 p.m. (sold out) and 7:30 p.m, Sunday, Dec. 8, at the Community Church, Racetrack Road, Ocean Pines, Md.
Tickets are $40 for adults, and free for youths 18 years and under with a reservation. For tickets and information, call 1-888-846-8600 or go to www.midatlanticsymphony.org where the season brochure and ticket order form can be downloaded by clicking on Concerts - Tickets. Tickets are also available at the door the evening of the performance.
The Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra, a nonprofit organization, is supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Maryland State Arts Council, the Talbot County Arts Council, the Worcester County Arts Council, the Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore, the Sussex County Council, the Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, the Carl M. Freeman Foundation, the Joshua M. Freeman Foundation and the Quiet Resorts Charitable Foundation, as well as donations from individuals, organizations, and corporations.