Friday, December 6, 2013

the charlotte symphony: the magic of christmas


photo credit: john graham
last night was a girl's night out. that alone is cause for celebration. there were nine of us who, after a delicious meal at enso in downtown charlotte, we headed to the beautiful belk theater for the charlotte symphony production "SPX magic of christmas."
as bloggers, we have been given some great products in the past. some things we love. some items or productions we like. some items we won't even write about because we don't want to give companies a review that is unflattering. regardless, we are honest. 

so, let me honestly tell you, this production by the charlotte symphony is one of the greatest things i have ever experienced. truthfully. it so far surpassed my expectations that i can honestly say, i never want to miss it again. it was phenomenal.

it is difficult to put into words what was so amazing about it all and i know i will not be able to do it justice. 

as i think over the evening, here are the moments that stand out most vividly in my memory. 

photo credit: john graham
  • first, the conductor, albert-george schram is an absolute gem. he reminded me of a mix between santa claus, einstein, and mickey mouse in the sorcerer's apprentice. every move he made was full of joy. he half danced, half conducted his way through the performance, smiling, sharing bits of information with the audience and blowing kisses to and cheering for the performers. i absolutely adored watching him. his smile was infectious and his love for music and people were evident. his facial expressions during a tremendous tuba focused "wassail, wassail all over the tuba" reminded me of the late victor borge in some of his musical comedy routines. he, alone would have made my night. i wanted to hug him when the night was over. (i didn't, but i wanted to.) he was every holiday term rolled into one: jolly, merry, joyful, bright. what a treasure.
  • second, the music was spellbinding. i went to the symphony expecting beautiful music....i would expect nothing less from the charlotte symphony. this particular production was, however, something more. there were moments of traditional symphonic songs, complete with the full adult choir and a children's choir. then there were special moments punctuating each portion of the production. from bagpipes playing "highland cathedral" (if you don't know the song, look it up and imagine hearing it live) to a complete reading of t'was the night before christmas with an orchestral instrumentation of the story, there were surprises around every corner and the result was magical.
  • third, it was beautiful. two songs were spectacular to watch. there was an aerialist and a trapeze artist, both who performed during different songs. they were ridiculously amazing. i'm not going to lie, i was holding my breath during most of their performances and wishing there was a net underneath them so i could breath a little easier. during the first woman's performance, a sweet little boy in the back of the theater couldn't help himself and the whole theater heard a full voiced, "wow." the smallest rumble of chuckles passed through the theater because someone let slip what we were all thinking. impressive is an understatement. it was stunning.
photo credit: john graham
  • fourth, it was emotional. christmas music draws up emotions naturally. they are full of nostalgia and memories of christmases past. they make us smile and laugh. they bring us to tears. my sweet friend next to me spent most of the concert wiping tears from her eyes. i did the same. it was absolutely and emotionally breathtaking. even the fun numbers such as the complex and brilliant arrangement of "rudolf the red-nosed reindeer," that switched seamlessly and flawlessly from a traditional arrangement to a swinging big-band feel, brought such joy and mirth that i was swept away in the production as a whole. what can i say? i laughed, i cried, i loved it all.
  • fifth, i got to sing along. there were two instances when the entire building was led in a sing along. i always dreamt of having an entire symphony and choir playing and singing while i sang. i got my wish. the sing along portions of the production, with the conductor grinning from ear to ear as he led us all, were so happy. there is just something about hundreds of people singing "joy to the world." i couldn't help but feel swept away by it all. add everyone rising to their feet for the singing of "the hallelujah chorus" and i was in heaven. 
there are so many reasons why i loved last night. i loved the friends. i loved the music. i loved the experience of it all. it was a magical night and i am so grateful for the opportunity. more than that, i am so thankful to have found something that i want to include in my holiday traditions for years to come. it is definitely going on my family list of christmas traditions to include in each year's activities. i cannot wait to have my sweet ones all around me to see again and again. i'm already looking forward to next year.

there is still time. go get tickets. now. you will not be sorry. there are still more showings this weekend. there is one show tonight, one on saturday night and two matinees. for tickets, go to www.charlottesymphony.org. is perfect for the whole family and children from first grade on. only by experiencing it yourselves will you be able to truly grasp why it was so special. go and make this part of your holidays for years to come. if charlotte isn't home, find your local symphony and start a tradition of your own. it really is magical.
disclosure: i was a guest of the charlotte symphony, i was given tickets to the show in order to share my honest thoughts and opinions. 

check out other posts about the symphony here: