PEPSI POPS:  A Blast in the Park

7:30 PM, Friday, May 10, 2019
The Reservoir - Old Trace Park

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This annual family treat feasts on the lovely, exciting sights and sounds of the MSO at dusk on the Rez, followed by moonlight and fireworks.  A kid’s playground, food trucks, and advance bands amplify the fun for all.  A picnic never sounded so good! 

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CONCERT GENEROUSLY SPONSORED BY:

with additional support from:

   

           

     

   

    

 

        

            

RHYTHMIC ROMP

7:30 PM, Friday, April 26, 2019
Tougaloo College - Woodworth Chapel

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Schubert’s immortal, lyrical Death and the Maiden is countered by William Walton’s jaunty Façade-An Entertainment, a saucy and humorous theater piece with Jackson’s beloved mezzo-soprano at its center, expressively narrating the poetry of Edith Sitwell atop the lively, colorful movements from six core MSO musicians. 

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Concert generously sponsored by

LESLY GAYNOR MURRAY 

AND 

STEPHEN C. EDDS 

Franz Schubert, String Quartet No. 14, in D minor, D. 810 "Death and the Maiden" 

William Walton, Façade - An Entertainment  

      Lester Senter Wilson, narrator  

Selby and Richard McRae Foundation ASTRAL EDGE

7:30 PM, Saturday, April 13, 2019
Thalia Mara Hall

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A warp-drive thrill ride straddles classical music and electronica with Mason Bates’ Mothership, Debussy’s Nocturnes, and Gustav Holst’s The Planets in a starry soundscape of cool.  Get ready to go on to the next dimension! 

Cash bar in the lobby prior to the concert and at intermission.

Pre-concert lecture by Dr. Timothy Coker on the Mezzanine, 6:45-7:15p

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Concert sponsored by a generous gift from

J. KEITH ROBBINS III, MD 

Mason Bates, Mothership

Claude Debussy, Nocturnes

Gustav Holst, The Planets

SPRING DELIGHT

7:30 PM, Saturday, March 23, 2019
Millsaps College - Ford Academic Complex

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This eclectic “best of” chamber collection comes full circle with a mix of classical and neoclassical, delight and intrigue, 18th through 20th century greats, plus a world premier by Mississippi composer Ben Williams.  Drink in this program of Stravinsky, Williams, Bach and Schubert – old wine, new bottles, all worth savoring! 

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Igor Stravinsky, Pulcinella 

Ben Williams, [world premiere] 
          Susan Landry, principal bass 

Johann Sebastian Bach, Ricercare from Musical Offering (orch. by Webern) 

Franz Schubert, Symphony No. 5, in B-flat Major, D. 485 

Selby and Richard McRae Foundation STRING SENSATION

7:30 PM, Saturday, February 16, 2019
Thalia Mara Hall

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Violinist Tai Murray warms to Brahms’ dreamy violin concerto and Schumann’s Symphony No. 4 completes an evening of melody and soul – true musical sustenance with some of the finest music the world has created, from composers who were also best friends. 

Cash bar in the lobby prior to the concert and at intermission.

Pre-concert lecture by Dr. Timothy Coker on the Mezzanine, 6:45-7:15p

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Concert generously sponsored by

      

and 

Tai Murray's appearance made possible by

TOM and CONNIE KOSSEN 

Robert Schumann, Symphony No. 4, in D minor, Op. 120

Johannes Brahms, Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 77
          Tai Murray, violin 

THE TEXAS TENORS

7:30 PM, Saturday, February 02, 2019
Thalia Mara Hall

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Three lone-star dudes pack Texas-sized charm and a songbook to boot, with classical chops and an Emmy Award-winning special.  An America’s Got Talent finalist, these three take a blend of classical, country, Broadway, pop and gospel to soul-stirring heights.

Cash bar in the lobby prior to the concert and at intermission. 

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Concert generously sponsored by:

Selby and Richard McRae Foundation RUSSIAN FLAIR

7:30 PM, Saturday, January 26, 2019
Thalia Mara Hall

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Rimsky-Korsakov’s Russian Easter Overture and Tchaikovsky’s Mozartiana make way for a resounding finish:  2013 Van Cliburn winner Vadym Kholodenko on Prokofiev’s riveting third piano concerto. 

Cash bar in the lobby prior to the concert and at intermission.

Pre-concert lecture by Dr. Timothy Coker on the Mezzanine, 6:45-7:15p

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Concert generously sponsored by:

Vadym Kholodenko's appearance made possible by:

JEANNETTE G. WALKER 

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Russian Easter Overture, Op. 36

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Suite No. 4 in G Major, Op. 61 “Mozartiana”

Sergei Prokofiev, Piano Concerto No. 3 in C Major, Op. 26 
          Vadym Kholodenko, piano

MOZART BY CANDLELIGHT

7:30 PM, Saturday, January 12, 2019
Belhaven University - Center for the Arts

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The enchantment of the master’s music in the glow of hundreds of candles works its annual magic, this time with two chamber works performed by violinist Stephen Redfield.  For the big finish, the composer’s final and most famous symphonic masterpiece, Jupiter, brings the evening to a spectacular close. 

This concert will also be performed in Brookhaven on January 11 and in Vicksburg on January 13.  Click here for details. 

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Concert generously sponsored by

MR. & MRS. EMERSON B. ROBINSON, JR. 

and 

  

Overture from Apollo et Hyacinthus, K. 38

     Divertimento in F Major, K. 138

Violin Concerto No. 4 in D Major, K. 218

     Adagio in E Major, K. 261

Symphony No. 41, in C Major, K. 551, “Jupiter” 

Selby and Richard McRae Foundation MAGICAL MOMENTS

7:30 PM, Saturday, November 17, 2018
Thalia Mara Hall

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A magical evening combines Mozart’s Magic Flute overture, Strauss’ moving tone poem Death and Transfiguration, and Sibelius’ Symphony No. 2, with its triumphant ending. 

Cash bar in the lobby prior to the concert and at intermission.

Pre-concert lecture by Dr. Timothy Coker on the Mezzanine, 6:45-7:15p

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Sponsors

Concert generously sponsored by:

Meyer & Genevieve Falk Endowment Fund
for Culture and Arts of the Community
Foundation of Greater Jackson 

with additional support from:

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Overture to The Magic Flute, K. 620 

Richard Strauss, Death and Transfiguration, Op. 24 

Jean Sibelius, Symphony No. 2 in D Major, Op. 43 

Selby and Richard McRae Foundation FIERY FLIGHT

7:30 PM, Saturday, October 06, 2018
Thalia Mara Hall

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John Adams’ barnstormer Lollapalooza and a West Side Story Leonard Bernstein tribute share a blazing spotlight with MSO’s master cellist Veronica Parrales, featured in Tchaikovsky and Stravinsky’s incomparable Firebird suite. 

Cash bar in the lobby prior to the concert and at intermission.

Pre-concert lecture by Dr. Timothy Coker on the Mezzanine, 6:45-7:15p

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Concert generously sponsored by:

John Adams, Lollapalooza

Leonard Bernstein, Symphonic Dances from West Side Story

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Variations on a Rococo Theme, Op. 33
          Veronica Parrales, principal cello

Igor Stravinsky, Suite from The Firebird           

JOHN ADAMS: Lollapalooza 
John Adams is one of the most successful composers in America today. His operas on current events (Nixon in China, The Death of Klinghoffer, Dr. Atomic) have received critical acclaim, and his instrumental works are played all over the world. Adams’ powerfully effective multi-media symphonic/choral work On the Transmigration of Souls (about the Sept. 11 attacks), won the Pulitzer Prize in 2003. Adams is often described as a “minimalist” composer, lumped together with Steve Reich and Philip Glass, but he disavows the label. While his music does make use of repetitive rhythms and patterns not unlike that of Glass, Reich, and others, Adam’s ‘minimalism’ tends to have more forward motion toward an apparent goal, and his patterns always engage the ear. Here is John Adams on Lollapalooza

Lollapalooza is one of those terrific ‘American’ words; we don’t really even care what it means, it just sounds so good—it sounds fun to say it. The dictionary says ‘Lollapalooza’ means ‘something extraordinarily special.’ I didn’t really care (when I wrote my orchestra piece Lollapalooza) what it meant; I was just thrilled by the sound of the word. It’s one of those onomatopoetic words that seems to generate a musical idea. I thought that I would take it and create an orchestral piece around the repeated use of this word. “Lol-la-pa-loo-za”—three short syllables, a long syllable, and then a terminal short one—so that’s really what the piece is, and the piece is designed somewhat in the minimalist manner, with a repeated accompaniment figure appearing first, then another accompaniment figure joining it, and then the statement of the ‘motto’ “Lol-la-pa-loo-za,” which continues on through the piece, and through a series of transformations boogies along, and dances, and then, at the last moment, kind of reaches a terminal ecstasy, where the timpani is pounding, and the brass is repeating as if they’ve gotten locked in some sort of infernal ‘loop’: a Lollapalooza. 

LEONARD BERNSTEIN: Symphonic Dances 
Leonard Bernstein would have turned one hundred on August 25th. Bernstein’s gifts were so multi-faceted and wide-ranging that, in trying to develop all of them, he was criticized for spreading himself too thin. “You know, pianists don’t think I’m a real pianist,” he once said, adding, “conductors don’t think I’m a real conductor, and composers don’t think I’m a real composer.” Critic Donal Henahan called him, simply, “one of the most prodigiously talented and successful musicians in American history.” The general public remembers him not for his three ambitious symphonies, but for his Broadway musicals. The most famous of these, West Side Story, is a relocation of the Romeo and Juliet story to Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen in the 1950s. The show ran for 777 performances in its first run, and was nominated for six Tony Awards in 1957. The 1961 film version won ten Academy Awards. In 1961, Bernstein refashioned nine numbers from the musical into this orchestral suite. Here are the movements, described by Bernstein’s assistant Jack Gottlieb[1]

PROLOGUE: The growing rivalry between two teenage gangs, the Jets and Sharks.
“SOMEWHERE”: In a visionary dance sequence, the two gangs are united in friendship.
SCHERZO: In the same dream, they break through the city walls, and suddenly find themselves in a world of space, air and sun.
MAMBO: Reality again; competitive dance between the gangs.
CHA-CHA: The star-crossed lovers see each other for the first time and dance together.
MEETING SCENE: Music accompanies their first spoken words.
“COOL” FUGUE: An elaborate dance sequence in which the Jets practice controlling their hostility.
RUMBLE: Climactic gang battle during which the two gang leaders are killed.
FINALE: Love music developing into a processional, which recalls, in tragic reality, the vision of “Somewhere.” 

PYOTR ILYICH TCHAIKOVSKY: Variations on a Rococo Theme, Op. 33 
A concerto for cello in all but name, the “Rococo Variations” is an enduring favorite of cellists, who have only a handful of significant works for solo cello and orchestra (concertos by Dvorak, Elgar, Haydn, Schumann, and Saint-Saens among them). Tchaikovsky meant this to be an homage to Mozart, and the misnomer “Rococo” does at least describe—if not Mozart’s music—something delicate, graceful, and charming. It is scored for a “Classical” chamber orchestra. One of Tchaikovsky’s sunniest creations, this music came out of a period of deep depression. Tchaikovsky began it immediately after the spectacular failure of his opera Vakula the Smith at the Marinsky Theater in St. Petersburg, composing it quickly. The version most often heard today is not quite Tchaikovsky’s original version, but one altered by the cellist Wilhelm Fitzenhagen, who had convinced Tchaikovsky to let him alter some of the solo cello writing and the order and number of movements. Tchaikovsky’s publisher was horrified, saying that Fitzenhagen wanted to “cello it up” to give himself more opportunities for solo display. Tchaikovsky gave in, only to deeply regret it later. Over the years most cellists have stayed with the Fitzenhagen version, despite the clear musical superiority of Tchaikovsky’s original, which was finally published in 1956. 

IGOR STRAVINSKY: Suite from The Firebird 
The 27-year-old Igor Stravinsky, protégé of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, arrived in Paris in 1909 with high odds already in place for a brilliant career. The powerful impresario Serge Diaghilev, after having heard the premiere of Stravinsky’s Scherzo Fantastique in St. Petersburg, was so impressed by the young man that he immediately commissioned him to orchestrate several ballet arrangements for his new company in Paris, the Ballets Russes. Already taking Paris by storm, the company included dancers from the Russian Imperial Ballet who are now regarded as legends—Michel Fokine, Anna Pavlova, and Vaslav Nijinsky. Paris at the turn of the century was fascinated by all things Russian, and Diaghilev’s company rode the wave. Ballet was a French creation, but Parisians were seeing the Russians surpass them in innovation and spectacle. Russia and France had moved closer together politically, and Russia was far enough away geographically and culturally to seem incredibly exotic to the French. But the initial successes of the Ballets Russes were criticized for the way Diaghilev stitched together bits and pieces of Russian music in movements by composers such as Arensky, Taneyev, Glazunov, Tcherepnin, Rimsky-Korsakov, and Mussorgsky. One critical called it a “Russian salad.” What was needed was an event that presented Russian music on an equal plane with the spectacular choreography and sets. And that is where Stravinsky’s lucky break came, a break that would lead to a change in the course of music. Diaghilev decided to commission a completely original ballet score, asking Fokine to choreograph several folk tales and bind them together into The Firebird. He approached composer Nikolai Tcherepnin, then Liapunov and finally Anatoli Liadov. When Liadov procrastinated long enough, the frustrated Diaghilev turned to Stravinsky. Ironically, Firebird was seen as an “anomaly” at the time, according to Richard Taruskin. “For this very deliberately, in fact demonstratively ‘Russian’ work had no antecedent in Russian art and was expressly created for a non-Russian audience.” This was Diaghilev’s first commission of a completely original work to be choreographed. As he would often call out to his artistic co-creators, “Astonish me!” The Firebird did, opening on June 25, 1910 at the Opéra de Paris to critical acclaim, and bringing Igor Stravinsky instant international fame at the age of twenty-seven. His fame would be further elevated three years later, when rioting interrupted the premiere of The Rite of Spring at the Théâtredes Champs-Élysées, changing the course of music. 

The Firebird is the mixing of the mythical Firebird story with an unrelated tale, Kashchey the Deathless (also spelled Koschei, or Kastcheï), which became served as the plot of one of Rimsky-Korsakov’s operas. In the Fokine/Stravinsky ballet, Prince Ivan journeys to win the heart of a princess, but is blocked by the evil magician Kashchey. Awakening from a deep sleep in an enchanted garden, he sees the Firebird, a beautiful magical being. He moves toward the bird and grabs her, but she struggles, then offers him one of her feathers and tells him it can protect from any future trouble. He sets the Firebird free. The Prince wanders through the forest and comes upon an old castle gate. He spots twelve beautiful young women led by Princess Tsarevna, who tells him that the castle belongs to the evil Kashchey, an evil magician capable of casting spells on any passersby. Tsarevna and Ivan kiss. Ivan follows her to the castle, ringing the bell on the gate. Kashchey appears in a group of figures and moves toward Ivan, to turn him into stone. But the feather protects him, the Firebird appears, and Ivan follows her instructions to steal a huge egg, which holds Kashchey’s soul. Ivan throws it to the ground, Kashchey dies, and the spell is broken. Prince Ivan and Tsarevna then unite in love and a wedding, all present giving thanks. 

 

DANCING QUEEN:  The Music of ABBA

7:30 PM, Saturday, September 22, 2018
Thalia Mara Hall

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The Swedish pop sensation’s tunes come to glittering life in the hands and harmonies of Jeans ‘n Classics vocalists and MSO.  Iconic and irresistible, these hits conquered charts, hearts, and even Broadway with the musical Mamma Mia!  Have the time of your life – again! 

Cash bar in the lobby prior to the concert and at intermission. 

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BAROQUE

7:28 PM, Saturday, September 08, 2018
St. Andrew's Cathedral

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A concert that captures golden moments and rides the wind, this popular opener – with two performances for the first time – maximizes the rich surroundings, includes Pachelbel’s famous Kanon in D.  Woodwind concertos showcase soloists Julie Hudik on oboe and Amulet Strange on flute, and Bach’s third orchestral suite includes the beloved Air

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G. F. Handel, Arrival of the Queen of Sheeba from Solomon
Jean-Philippe Rameau, Selections from Platèe
Alessandro Marcello, Oboe Concerto in C minor
        Julie Hudik, oboe
Johann Pachelbel, Kanon in D Major
Antonio Vivaldi, Flute Concerto in D Major, “Goldfinch,” RV 428, Op. 10, No. 3
        Amulet Strange, flute
Johann Sebastian Bach, Orchestral Suite No. 3, BWV 1068 

JEAN-PHILIPPE RAMEAU: Selections from Platée 
Jean-Philippe Rameau (1683-1764) had already made a name for himself in keyboard music and as a music theorist when he turned to opera later in life (in his 50s). His first operatic success was Castor et Pollux in 1737, surprising many, including the fans of Jean-Baptist Lully. The “Lullistes” started a pamphlet war over whose operas best represented the French tradition, pitting themselves against the “Ramistes.” Ironically, Lully, founder of the French operatic tradition, was not French but Italian. “Giovanni Batista Lulli” came to the court of Louis XIV as a fourteen-year-old and worked his way up to becoming the musical head of Versailles. Rameau insisted that he had used Lully as a model, but that didn’t stop the criticism of his overly “rich” and “unnatural” harmonies—the very harmonies we find more interesting than Lully’s today. Platée, Rameau’s first comic opera (1745), is based on a Greek myth about an unattractive marsh nymph who, thinking the king of the gods Jupiter loves her, becomes the victim of a cruel joke. Music from Platée is arranged here in the form of a French dance suite, some with descriptive titles like “Orage” (storm), complete with appropriate music. 

ALESSANDRO MARCELLO: Oboe Concerto in C minor 
Alessandro Marcello (1673-1747), born in Venice, never became as famous as his younger brother Benedetto. Nor was he as prolific, since his pursuit of music was more as a ‘dilettante’ with wide-ranging interests. He was fascinated by philosophy, mathematics, and literature, and even gained admission to the prestigious Arcadian Academy, a literary academy. Marcello began a tradition of weekly concerts in his home in Venice, attracting many notable musicians and sometimes featuring his own works. His small compositional output includes 12 cantatas, as many violin sonatas, and a handful of solo vocal works. Still, his distinct musical personality comes through in all of them. The slow movement of this one is especially attractive and heartfelt. This is Marcello’s most popular work, but it became so only after it was made famous by J.S. Bach, who admired it enough to transcribe a version for keyboard and orchestra. 

ANTONIO VIVALDI: Flute Concerto in D Major, RV 428, “Goldfinch” 
Vivaldi (1678-1741) was the most original and influential Italian composer of his generation, and important for the violin techniques he pioneered. Ordained in 1703, he was known as “The Red Priest” because of his flaming red hair. Not long after his ordination he stopped celebrating Mass, claiming it was because of his health, but there is evidence he cared more about his composing than his priestly duties. Someone even wrote of him slipping into the sacristy during Mass to make notes in his music sketchbook. His first official post was at a girls’ orphanage, the Pia Ospedale della Pièta. In those days, the word ospedale (hospital) carried the same meaning as conservatorio (‘conservatory’ for indigent children). Today a “conservatory” is a music school specializing in performance, in part because of Vivaldi. Vivaldi raised the level of the playing of the young women in the Ospedale orchestra to near-professional level, and the school soon became a tourist attraction (both to hear the girls and see the Red Priest). The Ospedale was the ideal composing laboratory for Vivaldi. His music was stunningly original, and he always had an ear out for the effect of his music on listeners. Vivaldi composed over five hundred instrumental concertos (most for the young women at the Ospedale), including fifteen for flute. Like his famous Four Seasons, this work from 1729 is program music, drawing on picturesque scenes from nature. Vivaldi himself gave it the nickname “Goldfinch” (Il gardellino), in his inspired attempt to imitate the songs of the European goldfinch. A brief solo cadenza in the first movement is clearly meant to imitate birdsong, and the fast, light warble of the goldfinch motivates the lively passages of the third movement. 

JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH: Orchestral Suite No. 3, BWV 1068 
A legendary performer and improviser in his lifetime, Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) descended from a long line of musicians that began in the 16th century. A working musician who never traveled more than two hundred miles from his birthplace, Bach’s compositional output tracks neatly with the musical needs of his series of musical jobs around Germany, in churches, courts, and on town councils. He arrived in Leipzig in 1723. There he taught at the St. Thomas School, and was in charge of the music for four churches every Sunday. In 1729 he took over the Leipzig Collegium Musicum, a group started by Telemann, for which he wrote numerous concertos and chamber works. Although the Suite No. 3 was probably composed earlier, when he lived in Cöthen, Bach revised it for performance in Leipzig at a popular local coffee garden. The opening overture is in the style of the “French Overture,” a genre created by Jean-Baptiste Lully (see above in the Rameau notes). The standard ‘double-dotted’ opening in regal rhythm is followed by a fast fugal section and a return to the opening. Bach magnifies the overture’s pomposity by adding tympani and three trumpets, including a clarino trumpet, playing in the highest registers. (The part was written for Gottfried Reiche, a renowned specialist on the instrument.) Bach was a master at mixing national stylistic elements, synthesizing them into his own personal style. Here, the French tradition (the Ouverture) is combined with a particularly German one, that of the virtuoso brass ensembles that acted as municipal “town pipers” (Stadtpfeiferei) in free German towns since the fourteenth century. Bach stuck to the standard forms of the suite of his day, which here includes stylized dance movements such as the gavotte and bourrée (both French), and the gigue (or “jig,” from Ireland and England). But what makes this suite stand out among his others is the famous Air of the second movement, one of Bach’s most memorable melodic creations. Oddly enough, the well-known name, “Air on the G String” only applies if the movement is played in C major, not D major as it is here. In 1871, was arranged for solo violin and piano and transposed down a tone, by the violinist August Wilhelmj so that the entire movement could be played on the violin’s lowest and richest string, the G string. 

Concert Calendar

August 2018
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Upcoming Performances

BAROQUE

Sat, Sep 08, 2018, 7:28 PM

DANCING QUEEN:  The Music of ABBA

Sat, Sep 22, 2018, 7:30 PM

Selby and Richard McRae Foundation : FIERY FLIGHT

Sat, Oct 06, 2018, 7:30 PM

Selby and Richard McRae Foundation : MAGICAL MOMENTS

Sat, Nov 17, 2018, 7:30 PM

MOZART BY CANDLELIGHT

Sat, Jan 12, 2019, 7:30 PM