NEW BRITAIN - The New Britain Symphony Orchestra opened its 69th season on its home stage Sunday.
Hundreds of classical music aficionados came to Central Connecticut State University’s Herbert D. Welte Auditorium for a program titled “Celebration.”
“We have a series of free concerts and children’s concerts throughout the community but all of our major symphony concerts are traditionally at Welte Hall,” said Nann Thomson, a member of the symphony’s Board of Directors. “This is really our home and we hope it continues to be for many years to come.”
New Britain resident Christopher Stasiak enjoyed his second experience with the symphony, accompanied by his family.
“My grandparents really enjoy this kind of music,” he said.
Marilyn Slater was escorted into the hall by her son, who said she was the true symphony devotee.
“My mother is a longtime fan of the New Britain Symphony. We’ve come regularly over the years.”
NBSO President Sylvia O’Reilly thanked Slater and fellow symphony enthusiasts when she addressed the audience.
“The symphony’s cultural and educational mission has been made possible by the continued support of you,” she said.
George and Barbara Somers are also regular listeners. The New Britain couple received free tickets to “Celebration” at the Plainville Senior Center.
“My husband just loves music,” Barbara said on her way into the auditorium. “We always come to this.”
The concert opened with the Overture to “Candide” by Leonard Bernstein, from his 1957 operetta.
NBSO Musical Director Maestro Ertan Seyyar Sener said the choice was a tribute to Bernstein, who would have turned 99 years old this past August. New Britain’s is one of many events around the world through next year that will celebrate the composer and conductor’s centennial birthday.
The NBSO then moved into Gustav Holst’s First Suite in E flat major for Military Band, a three-part works based on English folk tunes and carols.
The concert’s highlight was a solo performance by James Kleiner, of Mozart’s Concerto in A major. It was followed by a Beethoven symphony.
“We went back to the really classical composers,” board member David Cruickshank pointed out. “Based on the turnout today, which is a lot more than we usually see, I think people are excited to hear some of the classics.”
The NBSO will return to CCSU in May for a performance honoring ‘Hungarian Legends.’ Works by Franz Liszt and Béla Bartók will be featured.
A free mini-concert series will carry music lovers through the winter, with monthly performances in New Britain and surrounding towns.
Also upcoming are the following concerts:
Monday, Nov. 13, 6:30-8:30 p.m. - Beatles String Quartet, Plainville Public Library, free and open to the public
Sunday, Dec. 3, 3-5 p.m.: New Britain Brass Quintet and Pipe Organ, St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, 147 W. Main St., free and open to the public
Monday, Feb. 13, 6-7:30 p.m.: Jazz Quintet, Trinity-on-Main, 69 Main St., New Britain.
Erica Schmitt can be reached at 860-801-5097, or firstname.lastname@example.org.