Take Note: December News from the PSOThree holiday performances this month
Take Note December 2021
From the Maestro
Classical orchestral music provides the soundtrack for so much of our lives— from movie scores to Christmas carols—shaping many of our collective traditions and memories.
The basic human need for collective celebration, traditions and music is perhaps most acute at this time of year. Our coming together over music is both a comfort in the darkest days and a celebration of the return of the light and a new year on the horizon.
And so it should come as no surprise that December, more than any other month on the PSO's calendar, offers so many opportunities to gather, hear and enjoy the songs and classical works that bring our celebrations to life.
This month's performances feature a wide variety of favorites in three different venues, all of which have COVID-19 vaccination and masking requirements in place to ensure the safety and health of the performers and audience members.
On behalf of everyone at the Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra, we wish you and your family a healthy and happy holiday season and we look forward to seeing you at one or more of these memorable performances.
As they say in Vienna, Prosit Neujahr!!
Performances Not to Be Missed
Please note: All of the PSO's concerts have COVID-19 audience policies in place. You can review the policies for each of the venues here.
Up Close and Personal with the PSO @ Jimmy's
"Brass (R)evolution" December 12, 5:30pm
Jimmy's Jazz & Blues Club, Portsmouth
Travel through space and time with the PSO Brass Quintet on a colorful and vibrant musical journey through many styles and genres of music composed specifically for the brass ensemble. The brass quintet of today traces its origin from many backgrounds including the streets of post-Civil War New Orleans, where disbanding military groups provided a sudden supply of cheap brass instruments and inspired a true crossover of creativity and innovation. From there, musical freedoms and avant-garde composers experimented with brass quintet music written in many different modern and post-modernist styles. This vibrant concert will leave the listener in a wash of sounds and impressions of the brass ensemble’s evolution.
Tickets: $75 for adults and include the concert, appetizers, dinner, and dessert from an a la carte menu that will change seasonally. Buy your ticket today!
Join us for the full series of unique and wonderful performances at Jimmy's. All performances take place on Sundays at 5:30pm. Full program details can be found on the PSO’s website.
An annual family favorite, this year’s Famiiy Holiday Pops! performances feature special guest star Randy Armstrong & WorldBeat Marimba.
The program includes perennial favorites such as Leroy Anderson’s “Sleigh Ride” and “A Christmas Overture,” “You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch,” “The Polar Express: Concert Overture,” “The Chanukah Overture” and others as well as special arrangements of South African and Zimbabwean songs by Randy Armstrong that celebrate humanity.
Randy Armstrong & WorldBeat Marimba perform South African, Zimbabwean and popular songs on handmade South African Marimbas, Trinidad/Tobago Steel Pans, World Percussion and Vocals. Their prior collaborative concerts have included performances with the choruses Voices From The Heart, Ben Baldwin and the Stairwells, Songweavers, and the WorldBeat Marimba Singers.
New Year's Eve Champagne Pops! Friday, December 31, 8:00pm
The Music Hall, Portsmouth
Ring in 2022 with a New Year’s Eve Champagne Pops! concert featuring special guest conductor Dr. Dirk Hillyer and guest vocalist Jacyn Tremblay.
The festive New Year’s Eve performance will feature music from Broadway to Hollywood, including selections from Frozen, The Greatest Showman, Cabaret, Chicago, The Godfather, West Side Story, and a collection of Gershwin swing favorites, designed to make audiences, laugh, cry and tap their toes.
Meet Your Orchestra
Dirk Hillyer, Guest Conductor
Dr. Dirk Hillyer will guest conduct this year's New Year's Eve Champagne Pops! concert. An award-winning conductor and musician, Dr. Hillyer has performed for over two decades on both the regional and national stage. His experiences range from the classical genre to “pops” music of Broadway and film, including two national tours for Disney’s “Disney-in-Concert.” His Hillyer Festival Orchestra (HFO) has given 150 performances over the past 23 years on the North Shore and in Boston, including playing Boston’s Hatch Shell on the Esplanade for five consecutive years.
Dr. Hillyer has conducted his orchestra for 18 years and local pops orchestras for the last 20 years, but also maintains a vital interest in playing in concerts, pit-orchestras, and shows backing up world-class artists. A tenured member of the Boston Lyric Opera, he has performed over 400 opera performances and loves to conduct show orchestras.
In his hometown of Portland, Oregon, Dr. Hillyer conducted well-received productions of West Side Story,Jesus Christ Superstar, Music Man, Threepenny Opera and others.
Jacyn Tremblay, the guest vocalist for the New Year's Eve Champagne Pops! concert on December 31, is a singer, songwriter, and recording artist who currently performs throughout New England with the 11-piece band Beantown.
Her musical credits include single releases on Universal/Motown Records in the pop/R&B vocal group Jada, pop/rock singles with Venus Mars Project, performing as a regularly featured soloist with the Hillyer Festival Orchestra and most recently with Trumpet virtuoso Jay Daly and the BBQ Brass.
Individual donations to the Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra are an important component of our yearly budget. We rely on these funds in order to help keep ticket prices as low as possible and to support our musical outreach activities, including our tuition free orchestra music program, Stringendo.
You can help keep classical music accessible on the Seacoast with a year end gift to the PSO. Donations can be made as honoraria and make a wonderful holiday "gift" for the classical music lovers in your life.
There are two ways to gift: make an online donationthrough the PSO website or mail a check to Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra, PO Box 8391, Portsmouth, NH 03802.