The Civic Symphony of Green Bay: Music for Everyone

aimee suzanne kruse-ross | the civic symphony of green bay | nov. 2017

Photo by Sofia ImageryUnder the direction of conductor and artistic director Seong-Kyung Graham, the Green Bay Civic Symphony kicked off its 23rd season in October. The symphony is comprised of both volunteer and professional musicians, many of which are founding members. Committed to sustaining the wonder and beauty of symphonic music through live performances and artistic collaborations, the season includes music that requires the work, time and skillful execution of the talented musicians that make up the Civic Symphony.

With one concert already in the books, here's a look at the three remaining concerts of the Civic's season:

Concert II: Songs with New Friends

November 10, 2017 — 7 p.m. Meyer Theatre

The Civic's second concert will feature the work of Engelbert Humperdinck (1854 – 1921) and his composition, “Hansel & Gretel." Premiering two days before Christmas in 1893 in Weimar, Germany, Humperdinck's opera was born of the idea of creating a puppet show for his sister's children. To fit within the timeframe of the Civic's modern audience, musical pieces for this show were selected especially for the benefit of its younger listeners and many area children will attend this show as part of a school field trip earlier in the day.

“This is the annual family concert," says Jill Quigley, a 14-year volunteer and the Civic's administrative assistant. “If none of our other concerts are family-friendly, then this concert will be exceptionally family-friendly."

The audience will witness an intriguing collaboration of orchestral and vocal work to bring the timeless Grimm's fairy tale to life on the stage.

Singers that will accompany the orchestra in presenting this opera include Linda Feldmann, who plays the role of the Witch, and Matt Christoff, who will portray the

Father. Other characters include Hansel, Gretel, the Dew Fairy, the Sandman, Little Miss Muffet and the Gingerbread Men.

In addition to this multi-faceted collaboration, this concert will also include opera students from the St. Norbert College Opera Workshop under the direction of Yi-Lan Niu. It will also include a feature from the Green Bay Girls Cantabile Choir. Under the direction of Karie Green, they will portray the Gingerbread Children.

Photo by Jill Diane QuigleyConcert III: Songs of Movement

February 17, 2018 — 7:30 p.m. Meyer Theatre

This winter concert will feature Concerto No. 4 in F Minor, Op. 8, RV 297, “Winter" from Antonio Vivaldi's (1678 – 1741) “Four Seasons" and will highlight concert master Audrey Nowak on violin. Nowak is a 28-year teaching veteran who supports the musical community in many capacities and was a 2014 recipient of the Golden Apple Award.

The orchestra will then perform Ludwig van Beethoven's (1770 – 1827) Symphony No. 1. in C Major, Op. 21. and will include all four movements. The evening will then finish with the Orchestral Suite No. 1 by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 – 1750).

“This concert will be a beautiful mix of Bach with dance," says Quigley.

With choreography by Timothy Josephs, the dancers of the Northeast Wisconsin Dance Organization will present the audience with a classical collaboration of dance that will combine tradition with beauty in a movement-oriented show. Josephs has choreographed more than 75 original ballets and has been the director and ballet instructor at the Green Bay School of Dance for more than 30 years. For the past eight years, Josephs has been teaching ballet at UW-Green Bay.

The evening's finale will conclude with “Voices of Spring Waltz," Op. 410 by Johann Strauss II (1825 – 1899).

Photo by Paul GassConcert IV: New Site, Familiar Sound

April 15, 2018 — 3 p.m. Weidner Center

The New Site, Familiar Sound concert in April is an expansive choral collaboration with UW-Green Bay, St. Norbert College, the Weidner Center and multiple regional chorale groups as the Civic brings you all seven movements from Giuseppe Verdi's (1813 – 1901) “Requiem" on a grand scale. “Requiem" is a work for four soloists and will feature soprano Courtney Sherman. Sherman is the music director at Union Congressional United Church of Christ in Green Bay.

In addition, mezzo soprano Katherine Donner, tenor Jesse Donner and bass Christopher Besch will also lend their voices to the concert.

In addition, a double choir and orchestra under the direction of guest conductor Dr. Sarah Parks will be presented in this large-scale production of both musicians and voice. The demand of such productions in the past has prompted the Civic to seek larger accommodations for this concert.

“This will be our first concert at the Weidner," says Quigley. “The main reason for this attempt is because the previous two concerts that held large choruses were both sold out shows. We actually had to turn people away."

This collaborative event will also include the UW-Green Bay Music Department and feature approximately 200 to 300 singers. The UW-Green Bay Concert Choir, UW-Green Bay University Singers and Green Bay Choral Artists will all be under the direction of Dr. Randall Meder.

Also scheduled to perform is the UW-Marinette West Shore Chorale under the direction of professor David Giebler.

With the continuing growth of the Civic Symphony, they are always looking to recruit new musicians. The Civic takes great pains to make the process of becoming a member an encouraging and welcoming experience. Even if it's been years since prospective members have played an instrument, the symphony is eager to offer its encouragement to players of all levels, especially if you are a string or percussion player.

“The symphony has plenty of resources and will connect you with the proper individuals to help you prepare for concert play," says Quigley. “Haven't played for 20 years and are thinking of resuming? People contacting the symphony with desires to return to music don't need to jump through a million hoops to do it."

Those interested in more information can visit the Civic's website. Once there, you'll be guided to fill out an application.

Whether you play an instrument or enjoy listing to music, the Civic Symphony welcomes you and your family to spend the remainder of their 2017-18 season with them.

“This is the community's orchestra. It's made up of people from this community and it's in existence, not just for the musicians, but for people to hear live orchestra. There is nothing like hearing orchestra. Unless you hear it live, it's just not the same."

To inquire about joining the orchestra, please email an inquiry to info@gbcivic.org. For more information on the Civic Symphony of Green Bay, please visit GBCivic.org. For ticket information, please visit TicketStarOnline.com.

Stay up-to-date

Sign up for a monthly digest of everything new in GB.