Symphony, chorus will give 3 ‘ Home for the Holidays’ concerts

Tickets are on sale for Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra’s three performances in its Investar Bank Masterworks IV – “Home for the Holidays” series of concerts in the Baton Rouge River Center Theatre for the Performing Arts, 275 St. Louis St.

The concerts will feature soprano Mara Bonde and the Baton Rouge Symphony Chorus conducted by David Shaler. The orchestra will be led by its music director and conductor Timothy Muffitt.

The concerts are set for 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 29, followed by a 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2, matinee and a 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2, encore.

For the second year, the orchestra will perform a family matinee concert on Sunday. This performance is in addition to the Investar Bank Masterworks IV concert and encore. The concert is part of the orchestra’s holiday outreach program, Musical Gateways: Giving the Gift of Music, in which hundreds of tickets will be given to underserved Baton Rouge area children.

“Imagine if you are a young person who doesn’t see a lot of hope in life and you are invited to a festive holiday concert with a full symphony orchestra, a one-hundred-member chorus and a wonderful soprano soloist,” Executive Director Alan Hopper said. “What kind of impact might that experience have on you? Well, this is our opportunity to make this possible for hundreds of young people in our community. First, we are asking local companies and business owners to consider making a financial investment in Musical Gateways. Second, we ask for recommendations of worthy organizations that are making a difference in the lives of our young people so we can invite them.”

Sponsorship levels start at $100, which allows 10 children to attend the concert free of charge. Levels increase to more than $1,000. Donations are tax deductible.

Also, the matinee will feature an audience sing-a-long, along with an instrument petting zoo. The family matinée performance will feature a shortened program with no intermission.

As for the three performances, Bonde returns to Baton Rouge for a second year as the “Home for the Holidays” guest artist. She has been critically acclaimed for an electric stage presence and sweet purity of tone, and she will join the orchestra and chorus with a celebration of holiday music with such program selections as “O Holy Night,” “Waltz of the Snowflakes,” “Hallelujah Chorus,” “Sleigh Ride” and “Let It Snow.”

Bonde has performed in diverse venues throughout the United States and Europe. She is equally at home in both classical and popular styles and is no stranger to the world of “symphony pops.” Bonde has been the guest artist for “Holiday Pops” with the Boston Pops, the Naples Philharmonic, the Syracuse Symphony, the New Haven Symphony and the Charlotte Symphony. She made her Boston Pops debut under the direction of Keith Lockhart in Brush up your Shakespeare, which was nationally televised on PBS’ Evening at Pops. Bonde made her debut with the Baton Rouge Symphony singing “Holiday Pops” in 2011. Bonde’s recent opera debuts include Adina in L’elisir d’amore with Sarasota Opera, and Echo in Ariadne auf Naxos with Boston Lyric Opera.

Tickets for the family matinee performance are $20, adults and $10, children. Tickets for the Masterworks and encore performances are $25-$55. For tickets or more information, call (225) 383-0500, ext. 100, or visit http://www.brso.org.

Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra