beate gilliar and debra lynn
Professor and dancer Beate Gilliar poses with Dr. Debra Lynn, who conducted the symphony orchestra.
Photo by Anne Gregory

Manchester Symphony Orchestra Invites Community to Dance

Gavin Gleason

The “Invitation to the Dance” concert was performed by the Manchester Symphony Orchestra on Sunday, October 10, and directed by Dr. Debra Lynn and featuring dancing professors Dr. Beate Gilliar (English) and Dr. Jim Brumbaugh-Smith (Mathematics) in the “Blue Tango.” This is one of the smallest orchestras in the United States that is funded by its town.

There are 55 people in Manchester’s orchestra, who play 17 different instruments. This concert featured six pieces of music: “Pavane” by Gabriel Faure, “Russian Sailors’ Dance” by Reinhold Gilere, “Invitation a la Valse” by Carl Maria von Weber, “Danza Ritual del Fuego” by Manuel de Falla, the “Blue Tango” by Leroy Anderson, and “Hoedown” by Aaron Copland. The music was beautiful: it was smooth, soft, flowed like the wind, and was very peaceful to listen to.

There were two special songs that were played during the concert. First was “Blue Tango,” the song that Gilliar and Brumbaugh-Smith danced a tango to. It was a very pretty song in terms of flow, sound, and harmony. Gilliar and Brumbaugh-Smith have been dancing together for a few years now.

The other special song was the one that inspired Lynn, the conductor, to become an instrumentalist: Gabriel Faure’s “Pavane.”

Indeed, Lynn has a deep commitment to embracing the power of music. “We have a new goal to program and help make ‘standard’ music by persons of color and all genders,” she said. “Orchestra music remains one of the last vestiges of exclusivity in the arts with regard to race and gender, so we are challenging ourselves to break traditional ‘norms’ and broaden our own horizons.”

Listening to that was very powerful way of reminding everyone to open their horizons to many things, not just music. And by playing this dance music, the MSO was working on expanding their horizon. The Orchestra did a very good job playing and making good music for the afternoon; this journalist never been to such a concert before. The music they played was very relaxing because of the harmony and smoothness of the flow of music to instruments while playing.