, Salem, MA


December 20, 2012

Orchestra On The Hill to celebrate the season

Does anyone know the second stanza of “Jingle Bells?” Did anyone even know there was a second stanza?

“The second one is less known,” said Michael Pearlman, president, chairman of the board and bass player for The Orchestra On The Hill, which is based in Ipswich.

That’s why Pearlman is including the words in a program, along with those of the other, more obscure songs they’ll play at their concert Saturday night.

But that is only the first in a number of ways the concert will expand our sense of holiday musical customs.

While featuring several solo performances and two world premieres from local composers, the concert will also recognize several religious traditions.

One of the world premieres, by orchestra board member Larry Constantine of Rowley, is called “Celebration (Hanukkah).”

“Larry has written that for chorus, bass and piano,” Pearlman said. “Even though Hanukkah is over, we tried to make this a well-rounded concert, and Larry was gracious enough to write this.”

Two older works by Constantine that will be included in the singalong include one, “A Winter Solstice Canon,” that recalls the earliest forms of religion.

“All the winter celebrations have some start in the original people,” Pearlman said. “It’s part of the broadening, a program that represents other traditions besides the Christian.”

The other world premiere, “Gabriel’s Calling” by composer and poet G. Paul Naeger of Ipswich, does acknowledge Christmas themes.

“It’s a melodic piece that is uplifting,” Pearlman said. “It’s lovely; the textures are beautiful. The way the orchestra plays it, it is very peaceful and builds to a crescendo at the end with tympani. It’s going to be very enjoyable for the audience.”

The soloists include the orchestra’s founder and conductor, Thomas Palance, who teaches at Salem State University and was formerly assistant principal of The U.S. Navy’s premier concert band. Palance will play a trumpet solo on Georg Handel’s “Let the Bright Seraphim from Samson,” which will also feature soprano Briana Paquin, who studied voice and theater at Salem State.

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