Let the music play

Published 12:24 am Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Community orchestra tuning up for free holiday concert

Sweeping classical pieces plus beloved Christmas carols – these are the sounds of the Beaufort County Community Orchestra’s next concert.

Slated for 7 p.m. Dec. 9, this free-to-the-public musical happening takes place at First Christian Church in Washington.

On the bill are Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “Symphony No. 25” and the “Christmas Oratorio” by Camille Saint-Saens, reads a news release from Robin Potts, a member of the orchestra.

Chris Ellis, a violinist and the group’s regular conductor, will perform “Serenade Melancolique” by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky.

The Rev. Charles “Charlie Mike” Smith will favor the audience with vocal solos accompanied by the orchestra. Smith will sing “Oh, Holy Night,” “Ding Dong Merrily on High” and “The Christmas Song,” he shared in an interview.

The guest conductor is Joe Olivieri, a retired music instructor from Colorado. Olivieri has 30 years of music-instruction experience and has conducted the Pueblo Pops Orchestra and the Pikes Peak Philharmonic, reads a summation of his career provided by the musician.

The concert mistress is Lois Omonde.

“We’re just trying to put together a quality show like we always do and we make improvement from year to year with the concert,” Ellis said.

Smith, a baritone, has sung George Frideric Handel’s “Messiah” at Duke University Chapel and has opened Duke football and basketball games with “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

“I look forward to doing this,” he said. “It’s always fun to sing with an orchestra as opposed to the normal organ or piano that I sing with.”

Founded around 10 years ago by the now-late Doris Hamilton, the community orchestra is comprised of approximately 30 members playing brass, strings, woodwinds and percussion, Potts’ news release notes.