December 1, 2020 (updated December 20, 2020)

Madison Symphony Orchestra Presents A Virtual Madison Symphony Christmas

Premiere on December 16, 2020 at 7:30 p.m. — streaming through December 31, 2020

Madison, Wis. 
Madison Symphony Orchestra’s (MSO) original new production, “A Virtual Madison Symphony Christmas,” features vocalists Kyle Ketelsen and Emily Secor, The Madison Symphony Chorus, Madison Youth Choirs, and Mt. Zion Gospel Ensemble, with performances and accompaniment by John DeMain and Greg Zelek on piano and the Overture Concert Organ, respectively. 

The community celebration was pre-recorded in Overture Hall and multiple other locations and is offered for free upon registration for its premiere on Wednesday, December 16, 2020 — available for streaming through December 31, 2020. Through a partnership with PBS Wisconsin, the concert will also be streamed on pbswisconsin.org and its applications throughout the same time period. The concert will be streamed on MSO’s Facebook page, beginning on December 23, 2020, through December 31, 2020. Learn more and register at madisonsymphony.org/christmas2020.

“This is that time of the year when the musicians of the Madison Symphony Orchestra and I join forces with some of our beloved arts partners to create a wonderful Madison Christmas spectacular,” MSO Music Director John DeMain exclaims. “It is also a time when Greg Zelek presents the annual Christmas carol sing along in Overture Hall playing on the magnificent Overture Concert organ. Alas, with the pandemic, neither of these traditional events could take place. So we put our heads together and came up with a virtual program minus our great symphony musicians, but with members our MSO Chorus, the Mt. Zion Gospel Choir, Madison Youth Choirs, and two beloved vocal soloists. Recorded both in Overture Hall and in the homes of our choristers, we hope to fill your hearts with Christmas joy and glad tidings of the season. Of course, we can’t wait to be back on stage in Overture Hall with all the trappings and spectacle, but, hopefully, this will be a fun substitute under the circumstances with some musical and visual surprises along the way.”

The hour-long virtual concert was created to lift the hearts and spirits of audiences throughout Madison and the world with classic Christmas music plus a traditional sing-along featuring a medley of favorites people can sing with the company from home. Works include Handel’s Prelude on Joy to the World, He Shall Feed His Flock from Messiah, and But Who May Abide the Day of His Coming from Messiah, Peace Carol by Beers, Bédard’s Postlude sur un Noël  (Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella), I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day by Calkin/Longfellow, O Holy Night by Adams, Sleigh Ride by Leroy Anderson, It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year by Pola/Wyle, The Christmas Song by Tormé/Wells, Winter Wonderland by Bernard/Smith, Christmas Hope by Leotha Stanley, and the Christmas Carol Sing-Along.

About Kyle Ketelsen, Baritone

Kyle Ketelsen, baritone, is in frequent demand by the world’s leading opera companies and orchestras for his vibrant and handsome stage presence and his distinctive vocalism. He has won first prize in several international vocal competitions, including the Metropolitan Opera National Council, the Richard Tucker Music Foundation (Career Grant), the George London Foundation, the Licia Albanese Puccini Foundation, the Sullivan Foundation, Opera Index, and the MacAllister Awards. Highlights of Mr. Ketelsen’s recent seasons include performances at the Opernhaus Zurich, Staatsoper Berlin, Minnesota Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Canadian Opera Company, and the Metropolitan Opera, as well as performances with the San Francisco Symphony, the National Symphony and performances at Carnegie Hall.

Emily Secor, Soprano

Praised for her “spicy and rich lyric soprano,” Emily Secor enjoys performing on and off the operatic stage. As a Studio Artist with the Madison Opera in the 2019-2020 season, she performed the role of Annina and covering the role of Violetta in La Traviata, and performed the role of Miss Lightfoot in Fellow Travelers. Emily’s recent performances with Madison Opera as a Studio Artist during the 2018–2019 season include covering the role of Nedda in I Pagliacci, performing the role of Mrs. Nordstrom and covering Anne Egerman in A Little Night Music, and performing the role of First Woodsprite and covering the title role in Rusalka. Other recent operatic performances include covering the role of First Woodsprite in Rusalka as an Apprentice Artist with the Des Moines Metro Opera (2018), performing the role of Liz Taylor in scenes from Jackie O. by Michael Dougherty and Gretel in Hansel and Gretel at the University of Northern Iowa (2018). As a soloist, she has performed with the Luther College Symphony and Combined Choirs for Handel’s Messiah.

Madison Symphony Chorus, Beverly Taylor, Director

The Madison Symphony Chorus gave its first public performance on February 23, 1928 and has performed regularly with the Madison Symphony Orchestra ever since. The Chorus is comprised of more than 150 volunteer musicians who come from all walks of life.

Madison Youth Choirs, Michael Ross, Artistic Director

Recognized as an innovator in youth choral music education, Madison Youth Choirs (MYC) inspires enjoyment, learning and social development through the study and performance of high-quality and diverse choral literature. The oldest youth choir organization in Wisconsin, MYC serves more than 1,000 young people, ages 7-18, in a wide variety of choral programs. In addition to a public concert series, MYC conducts an annual spring tour of schools and retirement centers, performing for more than 7,000 students and senior citizens annually.

Mount Zion Gospel Ensemble, Tamera and Leotha Stanley, Directors

Under the leadership of Leotha Stanley and his wife, Tamera Stanley, the Mount Zion Gospel Choir has been a part of the MSO Christmas concerts since 2005. The choir is primarily comprised of members from Mount Zion Baptist Church and includes representatives from other churches as well. The choir has traveled extensively throughout the Midwest and has journeyed to Europe, singing in France and Germany.

The Madison Symphony Orchestra celebrates its 95th season in 2020–2021. The MSO has grown to be one of America’s leading regional orchestras, providing Madison and south-central Wisconsin with cultural and educational opportunities to interact with great masterworks and top-tier guest artists from around the world. Learn more at madisonsymphony.org

Major funding for A Virtual Madison Symphony Christmas 2020 provided by American Printing, NBC 15, Wisconsin State Journal, The Cap Times, and Madison.com, BMO Harris Bank, Capitol Lakes, and Hooper Foundation/General Heating & Air Conditioning. Additional funding provided by Colony Brands, Inc., J.H. Findorff & Son Inc., Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren s.c., Judith and Nick Topitzes, and the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts.

John DeMain is the Music Director of the Madison Symphony Orchestra
Greg Zelek is Principal Organist and Elaine and Nicholas Mischler Curator of the Overture Concert Organ

Peter Rodgers, Director of Marketing
Phone: (608) 260-8680 x226
Mobile: (415) 713-0235
Email: prodgers@madisonsymphony.org
A Virtual Madison Symphony Christmas 2020 photos: http://bit.ly/msochristmas2020photos

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