Manchester Symphony opens season with classical favorites

By Gerhild Keith
For the Journal Inquirer
October 18, 2007

MANCHESTER — The Manchester Symphony Orchestra and Chorale opens its 48th season with a concert of “Classical Highlights” by the orchestra, conducted by Lewis J. Buckley. The concert will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 27, at Trinity Covenant Church, 302 Hackmatack St.

The orchestra will perform two of Beethoven’s best-known works — The “Fidelio” overture and Symphony No. 5. The program also includes Copland’s Appalachian Spring, and features guest artist Megan Sesma as the harp soloist in Debussy’s Danses Sacrée et Profane.

Buckley has served as conductor of the Manchester Symphony Orchestra since 2004 and has been instrumental in improving its performances. He is excited about the orchestra’s upcoming concert. He feels they are getting stronger and stronger and the next concert’s selections are wonderful.

“I have always wanted to do Beethoven’s ‘Symphony No. 5,’ arguably the most famous symphony ever written.”

In his career as long-time leader of the United States Coast Guard Band, primarily a wind band, Buckley has never had the opportunity of tackling some of the world’s greatest musical treasures. The well-known “Fifth,” surely an audience favorite, will be preceded by the overture of Beethoven’s only opera of love and loyalty, “Fidelio.”

After intermission there will be a considerable change of style with offerings by composers of the early and mid-20th century. Aaron Copland, born in 1900, greatly influenced American music for many years. His early studies in piano were succeeded by composition studies both in America and during a stay in Paris, learning with Nadia Boulanger. Copland actively promoted performances by American composers to the end of his life. Perhaps he is best known for film and ballet scores. One you will hear is the colorful orchestral suite “Appalachian Spring,” which is thought of as typically American music.

A special treat awaits the audience as part of Manchester Symphony Orchestra’s support of talented young artists. Harpist Sesma lends her superb musical sensitivity to Claude Debussy’s famous solo for harp and strings, Danses Sacrée et Profane. Sesma is currently the 1st enlisted principal harpist with the United States Coast Guard Band.

Buckley believes this to be an exceptional program that may well add some new members to a steadily growing audience. The Manchester area is fortunate to have a really wonderful orchestra and he wishes “to encourage prospective first-time listeners not to be put off by your inexperience with classical listening — just come and hear us!”

Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for seniors (60 and older) and all students with ID and free for children under 18.

For more information about this concert and upcoming concerts, call 860-228-2921 or visit: