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WSO and Franklin School Chorus Make Spirits Bright

Annual 'Home for the Holidays' concert packs Presbyterian Church in Westfield.

The Westfield Symphony Orchestra, with the help of the Franklin Elementary School chorus, delighted audiences young and old Saturday evening at the Presbyterian Church in Westfield.

The annual 'Home for the Holidays' concert was performed for a sold-out crowd, which was taken on a musical journey that began with a triumphant 'Joy to the World,' hopped aboard 'The Polar Express,' and concluded with a spirit-lifting sing-along.

Music Director and Conductor David Wroe introduced the works with energy and enthusiasm that echoed the joy of the season and was matched by the extraordinary talent of the musicians, particularly violinist Anton Miller who displayed his virtuosity on Vivaldi's 'Four Seasons.'

The concert, the 200th for the WSO, was a memorial in honor James T. Dettre, a long-time supporter and friend of the symphony. Wroe described Dettre as "an extraordinarily special person" who will "never be forgotten." As a gift to his family and friends, many of whom were in attendance, the WSO performed a spellbinding 'Ave Maria.'

Franklin School's chorus, under the direction of music teacher R. Brent Geyer, had the opportunity to showcase their angelic voices on 'Christmas Wishes' and the Irving Berlin classic 'White Christmas.'

Leon Hyman, co-founder of The New Philharmonic of New Jersey, held the audience in rapt attention as he conducted selections from 'The Nutcracker.'

The program also included Westfield High School's chamber and symphony orchestra conductor Raymond Wojcik's composition 'Jubilee,' which was commissioned by the New Jersey Youth Symphony for its 25th anniversary in 2004.

Those left wanting to hear more have another opportunity this month when the WSO will perform its annual New Year Eve's concert in the Westfield High School auditorium. Starting at 7 p.m., the show, which has sold out for the past five years, will conclude at 9 p.m.

This year’s performance, 'Steppin’ Out,' promises a superb revue of American musical theater classics presented in glorious symphonic splendor, according to the WSO. In a press release, it was stated, "The cabaret style New Year’s Eve celebration has become a musical event eagerly anticipated by much of central New Jersey. This year’s line up reads like a Who's Who of the best of American musical theater composers and again features renowned guest vocalists direct from the Broadway stage."

Tickets in advance are $40 for general admission and $70 for preferred seating ($45 and $75 at the door, if available.) Tickets are now available online at www.westfieldsymphony.org. Tickets may also be purchased by calling (908) 232-9400 or visiting the office at 224 E. Broad Street, Westfield. 

In honor of its 30th season, the WSO is hosting several fundraisers. A string of faux pearls will be sold at Bittersweet Designs for $30. The symphony is asking patrons to save the date as a 30th Anniversary Gala is planned for Saturday, April 20, 2013 at Plainfield Country Club. 

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