MERRILLVILLE | It was a night for gratitude, remembering in light of the after-storm conditions on the east coast, the blessings of having heat, electricity and the ability as a community to attend the Northwest Indiana Symphony.
Music Director and Conductor Kirk Muspratt are also grateful that in a down economy symphony subscriptions are up 22 percent.
Music selections ranged from the inspirational and patriotic to Broadway tunes, classical pieces and comic relief.
The first half featured the symphony orchestra and 100-member volunteer chorus. The second half brought the performance of the Purdue Varsity Glee Club. Four members of the club, which for the second time has been invited president, hail from Northwest Indiana. They are: Jason Ban, of Crown Point; Caleb Larsen, of Highland; YeChan Lim, of Gary; and Bryce Shaffer, of Valparaiso. Young People’s Competition winner Joe Long, of Lowell, a member of the Northwest Symphony and Chicago Symphony youth choirs, performed a clarinet solo.
The evening started with the rousing “Stars and Stripes Forever,” followed by a classical selection “Phoenix” from the “Red Poppy Suite,” which highlighted the talents of symphony violinist Michele Lekas. Broadway selections included “The German Band” from “The Producers,” “When the Foreman Bears His Steel,” from the “Pirates of Penzance,” and a medley from “Oklahoma” sung by the Purdue University Glee Club. Comic interludes were provided by “Animal Crackers” and a Muppets’ rendition of “Bohemian Rhapsody” prior to the symphony and chorus singing the selection made popular by Queen in 1975.
The final performance of the first half of the program was John Newton’s “Amazing Grace.” Muspratt said the song was written on New Year’s Day in 1777 by John Newton. Raised by an English father and a Scottish mother, Newton was pressed into service in the British Navy at a very young age, Muspratt said, where his duty involved the slave trade. After his naval service, Newton devoted himself to life as a minister, Muspratt said, composing hymns to illustrate his sermons.
The Purdue University Glee Club, founded in 1893, is a volunteer program. Purdue does not offer music major so members received no college credit for their work and must balance it with heavy class loads, their director
William E. Griffel told the audience.
Glee Club selections included the world premiere of “Joyful Joyful” and the “Blue Danube,” which Muspratt said was originally written for the Vienna Men’s Chorus, premiering Feb. 13, 1867.
Other selections included: “Stouthearted Men;” “Shenandoah;” and “Come Fly with Me.” The program concluded with “God Bless the USA” and the “Purdue Hymn.”
Upcoming events include: the Symphony Youth Orchestra concert Dec. 1; the Christmas tree luncheon Dec. 5; and the Holiday Pops concert Dec. 6.
Crown Point’s Eisenhower School choir will be special guests at this performance.
Both individual concert and season tickets are still available. Special pricing on three and four concert series tickets are available for as little as $25 per ticket. The box office number is (219) 836-0525, extension 200. Information is also available on the symphony website www.nisoorchestra.org