Three years ago, during his tenure as president of the Southern Delaware Choral Society Board of Directors, Clem Edgar contacted Simeone Tartaglione, the newly appointed music director of the Newark Symphony Orchestra. A lover of both choral and orchestral music, Edgar wanted to work out a collaboration between the two organizations. Edgar had worked with Tartaglione when the Mid Atlantic Symphony Orchestra collaborated with the Choral Society in a concert featuring Handel’s "Messiah."
Tartaglione is a conductor who was prepared in the European tradition, covering conducting, composition, opera, and chamber music in Rome, Italy, at the Santa Cecilia Conservatory in coordination with piano performance at the Bellini Institute. In addition to his work with the NSO, he is the assistant conductor of the Mid Atlantic Symphony Orchestra, music director of the BE Orchestra in Baltimore, Md., and is a conductor and on the board of directors of the Chesapeake Concert Opera in Baltimore. Since 2004, he has also been the artistic director of the Symphonia Association in Italy.
A plan emerged in December among Edgar, Ann Freeman, the interim conductor, and Tartaglione. Tartaglione would provide and conduct a chamber orchestra for J.S. Bach’s “Christmas Oratorio” in December 2013. In May 2014, SDCS will provide a number of singers for a concert Tartaglione and the Newark Symphony Orchestra are scheduling in Newark.
The "Christmas Oratorio" will be performed at 4 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 14, at Georgetown Middle School and at 4 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 15, at Cape Henlopen High School.
The project was shepherded by Ann Freeman, with the help of her husband and assistant conductor, Richard Freeman, who has developed a shortened version of the original Bach "Christmas Oratorio." A full performance would take three hours, but the shortened version, while retaining the Christmas story, takes less than half that time.
Gail Launay, SDCS executive director, said, “The chorus is very solid, the soloists are the lead singers from the choral society, all of whom are very good, and Maestro Tartaglione has been a wonderful inspiration Anyone who comes to this concert will experience an extraordinary boost in spirit.”
Tickets are available at www.southerndelawarechoralsociety.org, by calling 302-396-7619, at Browseabout Books in Rehoboth Beach, Puzzles/ Lewes Gourmet in Lewes, and at the door on the day of the performance.