Manchester University
Oak Leaves

December 8, 2017

holiday extravaganza

Holiday MSO Performance Ends in Standing Ovation

Kylie Kroger 

The holiday season was in full swing this past Sunday, Dec. 3, when the Manchester Symphony Orchestra (MSO) presented its Holiday Extravaganza. A large crowd gathered in Cordier Auditorium to take in the sounds of the holidays.  

The performance kicked off with the MSOs renditions of holiday classics such as "Sleigh Ride" and "The Christmas Song." The MSO was conducted by Scott Humphries, who has served as conductor since 2008.  

"I am already planning for next year's season: Our eightieth," wrote Humphries in his program notes. "There are more great things to come from your orchestra, and I am humbled to be a part of this splendid group."  

Joining Humphries onstage, Dr. Debra Lynn conducted Manchester's A Cappella Choir and Symphony Chorus. Among these performances, there were many solos that left the audience visibly impressed.  

Senior Clayton Marcum was among the soloists, and performed a challenging countertenor part in the performance. "This was really my first big countertenor debut," Marcum said. "Countertenor work is not easy, that's for sure! This weekend I developed a nasty cold so that really made things interesting when it came time to perform. I was pretty nervous because I knew that my cold was holding me back from reaching my full potential. In the end, perseverance in what made that concert come together." 

Following a brief intermission, the second half of the program was a performance of the one act opera "Amahl and the Night Visitors." The opera told the story of when the Three Wise Men met a young boy named Amahl and his mother on their journey to Bethlehem for the birth of Jesus.  

Most of the performers in this one-act opera had their own connections to Manchester. Two of the soloists, Kelly Iler and Michael Rueff, are both graduates of Manchester University with music degrees. The lead role of Amahl was played by 11-year-old Elizabeth Thomson, whose father, Professor Shane Thomson, is a visiting faculty member in the Department of English and also teaches modern languages at Manchester. In addition to those with ties to Manchester University, local physician Dr. Eric Reichenbach as well as Warsaw High School choir teacher and North Manchester resident Thomas Hall both had solos in the performance in their roles as Wise Men.  

The performance closed with a standing ovation from the audience for the soloists, orchestra, choir and especially for the youngest performer on stage, Elizabeth Thomson. Her face glowed at the sight of the crowd and the excitement that comes along with a young performer's first starring role.  

The Manchester Symphony Orchestra's next big performance at Manchester is the Spring String Fling, which will take place Monday, April 30, in Cordier Auditorium at 7:30 p.m.