Friday, December 10, 2010

Symphony of Wonder

One of the joys for me at Christmas is singing with our local Athens Symphony Chorus. It involves several long rehearsals at one of the busiest times of the year, but a couple of things keep me coming back. First, the opportunity to join in a community wide celebration in singing both sacred and secular songs is such a privilege. It’s still called a Christmas Concert, and I love that.

Albert Ligotti and Bev at recent rehersal
 Albert Ligotti, the conductor of the Symphony and Chorus is another reason I make room in my schedule. I’ve never known anyone else who knew Leonard Bernstein personally, but Mr. Ligotti did. In the Symphony's website bio it states he played the trumpet for eleven years with the New York Philharmonic. During his professional musician years, he performed with many groups and venues from Broadway Shows to the Radio City Music Hall Orchestra to the Boston Pops.

At the University of Georgia, where he served on faculty for twenty-seven years and is an Associate Professor Emeritus, he left a lasting legacy when he founded and directed the UGA Wind Ensemble. My nephew, Christopher Todd(oneringingbell, 9-15-10), now plays trumpet with that elite group of student musicians.

The Athens Symphony, now in its thirty-third year, continues to thrive due Mr. Ligotti’s tireless work, which blesses thousands who attend the many concerts throughout the year.

In another career, I traveled often to New York City and had the privilege of seeing many musicals on Broadway. Oddly, one of the things I missed most after I left that career was hearing the sound of an orchestra tuning, because I knew something wonderful was about to happen. I get that same feeling when the Athens Symphony tunes. The Christmas Concert always ends with the audience joining in a sing-along. When the house lights go up, and I can see and hear the thousands from all across our community lifting their voices in “Joy to the World, the Lord is come,” I am not disappointed in the wonder of those moments.

This weekend’s concerts on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon will be rebroadcast on 1340WGAU on December 24 at 8:45. You may listen anywhere in the world because it’s live streamed at

Sing unto the lord with the harp; with the harp, and the voice of a psalm. With trumpets and sound of cornet make a joyful noise before the Lord, the King. Psalm 98:5-6

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