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Elgin Symphony performs at Blizzard Theatre


Friday Favorites continues with “Music You Know” from the Elgin Symphony Orchestra.

The “Music You Know” concert is at 6:30 p.m. April 12 in the Blizzard Theatre at Elgin Community College in Elgin. Elgin Symphony Orchestra music director Chad Goodman will lead the orchestra in a 90-minute program.

“We started this concert series last season and the idea was we wanted to explore presenting programs that were filled with music that most people have heard. Maybe you don’t know where…maybe it was in a movie soundtrack or a cartoon growing up or a commercial,” Goodman said.

“Classical music has become such an important part of the fabric of the culture over the years and so we wanted to put this together in a shorter format, into a 90-minute total event that happens earlier … so you’re out in time to have dinner with friends or whatever. It’s been very well-received and it’s been a blast to put these concerts together.”

This is the second “Music You Know” concert of the season and the fourth overall, he said. It features shorter works, eight to 12 pieces of music; including overtures, selections from bigger pieces or single movements and themes from movie and television soundtracks, he said.

“There’s a wealth of variety that we get to put into these concerts where you’re hearing lots of music,” he said. “It crosses genres and it’s just been a blast to do.”

With this penultimate show of the season, Goodman focused on dance music, whether it comes from ballet, film, Broadway or baroque.

That includes selections from Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake” and “Sleeping Beauty,” Bartók’s “Romanian Folk Dances,” Mendelssohn’s “Wedding March” from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” Aaron Copland’s “Saturday Night Waltz” from his ballet “Rodeo” and Astor Piazzolla’s “Oblivion.”

This resulted in a lot of research on the history and cultures of the dances and pieces, he said.

“I always say putting together programs is like doing a sudoku puzzle,” he said. “Sometimes there’s a piece you really want to do but it doesn’t quite fit. The process requires a lot of time and a lot of research.”

He added one piece of music he’s calling “music you should know” because it might not be as familiar to people. It’s the Overture to “In Dahomey” by Will Marion Cook.

“This was the first musical to make it on Broadway that was written and performed by an African-American cast in the early 1900s,” he said. “This was revolutionary in terms of civil rights, in terms of music history. It’s mostly ragtime music, which at the time, was all the rage in America.

“That’s a piece that’s not commonly heard but I want to encourage audiences and expose them to it because it’s beautiful music and you can hear how it impacted the future of all sorts of American music. That did involve a lot of research. I’m excited to share this with our audience.”

For those who like diversity in their programs, these are the shows to attend, he said.

“You’re going to get a ton of variety. I’m going to be speaking to the audience. That’s something I love to do,” he said.

He’ll introduce the composer and talk about the history of the piece and talk about where the audience might know the song from.

“It’s very informal in the sense that I will be in conversation with the audience,” he said.

The “Music You Know” concert flexes the programming muscle differently than other programs he does, he said. He can’t wait to share the program with audiences.

“This is a very relaxed way to experience the symphony,” he said. “It’s at an earlier time, it’s a shorter program … we have something like 10 works on the program. This program crosses so many genre boarders that it’s just going to be a different take on the symphony experience.

“Whether you’re a season subscriber or this is your first time, we just want to be there for our community and this is a fun way to get introduced to the Elgin Symphony Orchestra and all the great work the ESO has been doing.”

Annie Alleman is a freelance reporter for the Courier-News.

Elgin Symphony Orchestra’s ‘Music You Know’

When: 6:30 p.m. April 12

Where: Elgin Community College, 1700 Spartan Drive, Elgin

Tickets: $10-$35

Information: 847-622-0300; tickets.elgin.edu

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