“A New World Holiday
Sunday, December 5, 3:30
Lincoln High School Performing Arts Center
Featured musical guests: Lincoln Symphonic Band
Leslie Schegler, conductor
Symphony No.9 in E Minor, From the New World
- Adagio-Allegro Molto
- Molto Vivace
- Allegro con Fuoco
March of the ToysVictor Herbert(arr. F. Campbell-Watson)
T’was the Night Before ChristmasBill Holcombe
Toni Micik, narrator
Aria from Orchestral Suite No. 3J.S. Bach (arr. Leopold Stokowski)
A Christmas FlourishJames Curnow
Let There Be PeaceScott Boerma
Danza la HabanaRuth Brittin
Performed by the Lincoln Symphonic Band
The Polar ExpressGlen Ballard and Allan Silvestri (arr. Jerry Brubaker)
A Christmas FestivalLeroy Anderson
Sleigh RideLeroy Anderson
Performed jointly by the YSO and the Lincoln Symphonic Band
Covid-19 policies: We respectfully ask that members of the audience ages two and up wear a face
covering and practice physical distancing while in the auditorium and lobby
We are delighted to welcome the children in our concert audience, as the love of music begins at a very
early age. We ask parents to remain with their children and respect their limits of endurance by removing
them to the lobby when they are no longer enjoying the performance and rejoining us if they are able.
Please be respectful of our musicians who have worked hard to bring you this concert, and of your fellow
audience members who have also come to enjoy the music. Our ushers may ask you to leave the
auditorium if your children are consistently disturbing the concert. Thank you for your consideration.
Ypsilanti Symphony Orchestra
John Guzdek IV
Edwin Olson +
Cheryl Richison *
Erin Himrod *
Krista Lenart *
Jeffrey Campbell *
Linda Wagner *
Jeff Ash *
Dan Wagner *
Jerry Moyer *
** Assistant Principal
Lincoln Symphonic Band
Symphony No. 9 in E Minor, From the New World
Antonin Dvořák (1841-1904)
Antonín Dvořák was a Czech composer living in the rolling hills of Bohemia in the late 19th century. It was Jeannette Meyer Thurber, the founder of the National Conservatory in NY, who brought Dvorak to the United States. Hoping to increase her school’s prestige, she sought a director who could bring status and fame to the school. An attractive offer of $15,000 a year enticed Dvořák to make the move to metropolitan New York. While he was only in the U.S. for about three years, Dvořák’s influence on the musical sphere was great.
The New World Symphony was one of Dvořák’s most famous works composed during his time in America, inspired by the folksongs and spirituals that he heard here.
The symphony begins with an Allegro Molto in sonata form. Preceded by a slow, drawn out Adagio, the movement then introduces several themes that reappear throughout the work. Within the movement we hear Dvořák’s idiom- a minor key with a flatted seventh, which is reminiscent of both African American spirituals and his own Czech roots.1
In the last theme of the first movement, many music scholars recognize a nod to the spiritual, “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.” Whether this similarity was intentional or not remains unclear. Dvořák himself stated that he did not use any specific songs in his symphony, but rather that he composed his thematic material in the same vein as the tunes by which he was so inspired. Said Dvořák, “I tried to write only in the spirit of those national American melodies.”2
The slow movement, Largo, begins with a series of seven distinctive chords in the winds. Following this introduction is a tune that is recognizable to many. The spiritual sounding melody is presented by the English horn and was later adapted into the song “Goin’ Home” by one of Dvořák’s students.
The third movement of the symphony is a Molto Vivace in ABA form. Dvořák stated in the NY Herald that this movement was inspired by Longfellow’s “Song of Hiawatha,” specifically the dance at the wedding feast described in the poem. The increasing energy of the A section seems to echo the description of the dance in the poem.1
In contrast to the A section, the rhythms and themes in the B section more closely resemble Dvořák’s earlier Slavonic Dances, showing how Dvořák used both new inspiration and material from his past.1
The symphony closes with an Allegro con Fuoco. Throughout the movement Dvořák spins themes from the first three movements, deftly tying the symphony together. In one passage, he combines thematic material from three movements at once. The symphony draws to a close with a brief recapitulation followed by a grand coda. Here, we hear the famous seven opening chords of the Largo treated more expansively as the symphony comes to its triumphant close.
The New World Symphony premiered on Dec. 16th, 1893. It was performed by the NY Philharmonic at Carnegie Hall, conducted by Anton Seidl. A day before the premiere, a public rehearsal was held in the hall. The following excerpt from Beckerman’s book, Dvořák and his World, beautifully illustrates both Dvořák’s character and the public’s reception of his work:
“At last a broad shouldered individual of medium height, and as straight as one of the pines in the forests of which his music whispered so eloquently, is descried by the eager watchers. A murmur sweeps through the hall. “Dvořák! Dvořák!” …
With hands trembling with emotion Dr. Dvořák waves in acknowledgement of his indebtedness to Anton Seidl, to the orchestra, to the audience, and then disappears into the background while the remainder of the work goes on… At its close the composer was loudly called for. Again and again he bowed his acknowledgment and again and again applause burst forth.”3
Critics praised the work in the NY Herald and Tribune, calling it “a triumph” and “distinctively American.”3
Dvořák believed that the wealth of African American and Native America folksongs was where America’s true musical tradition lay and encouraged other composers to follow suit. While many composers sought to follow in Dvořák’s footsteps, not all his contemporaries felt the same way.
Even then the debate raged as to whether indigenous folk music should be appropriated purposefully into an “American” style of composition. Critic William Foster Apthorp and composer John Knowles Paine dismissed Dvořák’s intentional use of folk sources as “quasi-barbaric,” following instead the notion that folk heritage would naturally become a part of America’s compositional style without intentional effort on the part of people like Dvořák.3
Despite this debate, Dvořák’s New World Symphony has withstood the test of time and remains a highly popular and often performed symphonic work. While it may not have led to a “new school of American composition” the way Dvořák and Thurber intended, Dvořák’s last symphony is a testament to both his musical roots and his eagerness to expand his musical knowledge in this new world.
1Ondrej Supka, “Symphony No. 9 ‘From the New World,’” http://www.antonin-dvorak.cz/en/symphony9 (2020), accessed 15 November 2021.
2Betsy Schwarm, “New World Symphony,” Encyclopedia Britannica, https://www.britannica.com/topic/New-World-Symphony (2015), accessed 15 November 2021.
3Michael Beckerman, Dvořák and his World (New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1993), 98-99.
March of the Toys
Victor Herbert (1859-1924)
Transcribed for orchestra by F. Campbell-Watson
This march is from the operetta Babes in Toyland, a Christmas-themed musical featuring characters from Mother Goose nursery rhymes. The show premiered at the Grand Opera House in Chicago on June 17, 1903. “March of the Toys” is the most famous instrumental number from the operetta and is often performed independently.
Herbert’s operetta has been adapted for film several times since its genesis. In the film, “March of the Toys” is used as the toys march into battle against the evil Uncle Barnaby. (In the nursery rhyme, Barnaby is the crooked man who lives in the crooked house.)
T’was the Night Before Christmas
Bill Holcombe (1924-2010)
A musical setting of the Clement Moore classic, this entertaining piece for narrator and orchestra beautifully illustrates the holiday poem that many know and love. Listen for musical effects that bring the text to life, such the descending chromatic scale played by the violins as Santa falls down the chimney!
Aria (Air from Ouverture No. 3 in D Major)
J.S. Bach (1685-1750)
Transcribed for orchestra by Leopold Stokowski
Though it is often performed as a stand-alone work, the original version of this aria was the second movement of Bach’s third orchestral suite. The suite is scored for strings, winds, and timpani, but only the strings play in the second movement.
This lyrical work has been arranged countless times, the most famous being violinist August Wilhelmj’s 1871 arrangement known as “Air on the G String.” In this arrangement the score is transposed down so that a solo violinist can play the melody using only the G string of the instrument. Other arrangements of the aria are often referred to as “Air on the G String,” as well, due to the popularity of Wilhemj’s work.
Stokowski’s 1933 transcription of the aria puts a romantic take on Bach’s original baroque counterpoint with the cello section taking on a melodic role. Though the melody is slow and lyrical, it never feels static. Listen for a consistent moving part- Bach’s “perpetual motion” effect.1 Stokowski preserves this effect in his transcription despite the slower tempo with the bass section taking on the role of the basso continuo.
1The Bach Choir of Bethlehem, “BWV 1068,” https://bach.org/education/bwv-1068/ (2021), accessed 17 November 2021
A Christmas Flourish
James Curnow (born 1943)
This energetic showpiece was composed as a concert opener. It is based on the Christmas carol, “Angels we Have Heard on High,” but uses themes from several other recognizable holiday tunes as well. A variety of style changes and different moods keep the listener engaged throughout this dazzling holiday flourish!
Let There Be Peace
By Sy Miller and Jill Jackson
Setting by Scott Boerma
“Let There Be Peace on Earth” is a song written by Jill Jackson-Miller and Sy Miller in 1955.
This setting for concert band was done by Scott Boerma to honor lives lost to terrorism during the 9/11 attacks. The note on the score reads:
Written during the week following the terrorist attacks upon the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, this setting of “Let There Be Peace on Earth” evokes not only the disbelief, sadness, and fear inspired by the acts, but also the renewed patriotism, confidence, and hopefulness that the people of America have felt since that unforgettable day.1
1 Scott Boerma, preface to the score of Let There Be Peace (Arranger’s Publishing Company).
Danza la Habana
Dr. Ruth Brittin is a professor of music education and the chair of the Department of Music Education at the University of the Pacific. She is also the chief editor of the International Journal of Music Education: Research and Update: Applications of Research in Music Education. Dr. Brittin is active as an arranger of both instrumental and vocal music.
Danza la Habana explores the rich musical style of Cuba and was inspired by Dr. Brittin’s visit to the country in 2017. The piece is based on a habanera, which is a slow Cuban folk dance in duple meter, typically performed by a small ensemble. The style of a habanera is a blend of European contradanse and African rhythms. Its distinctive rhythms are an icon of Cuba, and inspired elements of ragtime, blues, and jazz in the U.S.1
1Ruth Brittin, preface to the score of Danza la Habana (Florida Southern Music, 2020).
The Polar Express
Glen Ballard and Alan Silvestri (arr. Jerry Brubaker)
This concert suite is a medley of tunes from the blockbuster movie, including, “Believe,” “The Polar Express,” “When Christmas Comes to Town,” and “Spirit of the Season.” The original film score was composed by Glen Ballard and Alan Silvestri and was later arranged as an orchestral suite by Jerry Brubaker.
A Christmas Festival
Leroy Anderson (1908-1975)
In 1950, Arthur Fiedler, conductor of the Boston Pops Orchestra, asked Leroy Anderson to compose a concert piece for a special holiday recording. Anderson composed this collection of Christmas carols and songs as an overture for the concert. Anderson stated specifically that the piece was composed as an overture, and not just a medley of holiday tunes. It has remained popular ever since, and exists as arrangements for orchestra, band, and SATB choirs.
Listen for familiar tunes within this classic holiday arrangement. In order, you will hear: “Joy to the World,” “Deck the Halls,” “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” “Good King Wenceslas,” “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” “Silent Night,” “Jingle Bells,” and “O Come, All Ye Faithful.”
Because this piece was composed to be recorded on 78 rpm records, the orchestra would have had to stop in the middle of the piece, after about 3-4 minutes, to record on the other side. Anderson planned for this split when he composed the piece, and in a 1960’s radio interview issued this challenge: “If I may brag a bit, I defy anybody to find out the exact spot where that occurred.”1
1Leroy Anderson Foundation, “‘A Christmas Festival’ for Orchestra by Leroy Anderson,” http://www.leroyanderson.com/a-christmas-festival.php (2021), accessed 17 November 2021.
Leroy Anderson (1908-1975)
Inspired by his imagination of wintertime long ago, Anderson ironically began composing this piece in the middle of a July heatwave in 1946. Anderson did not intend for the piece to be associated with Christmas, as his goal was to paint a picture of the winter season as a whole. Despite Anderson’s intentions, the piece quickly became an icon of Christmas. Today it is ranked as one of the top ten Christmas pieces in the world.
Throughout the piece we hear the clip clop of horses’ hooves and the cracking of the whip illustrated by the percussion section. Light, airy melodies and the jingle of bells give the listener the impression of being pulled through the snow in a horse drawn sleigh. As the journey comes to an end, listen for the whinny of the horse played by the trumpet!
Program Notes by Alyssa McNally
Leslie Schwegler, Conductor of Lincoln Symphonic Band
Leslie Schwegler is in her 20th year of teaching music at Lincoln Consolidated Schools. This is her 10th year of holding the position of Director of Bands at Lincoln High School conducting the Symphonic Band, Varsity Band, Concert Band, Jazz Band, and Marching Band. The Lincoln Band program has a strong presence in the Ypsilanti Community performing at the Memorial Day parades, 4th of July parades, Heritage Festival, and throughout the school campus. The band has also performed in Chicago, Walt Disney World, St. Louis, Gatlinburg, Mackinaw, and Toronto. The band program has a strong legacy of earning Excellent and Superior ratings at Michigan School Band and Orchestra events for over 20 years.
Toni Micik, Narrator
Toni Micik is the choral director at Lincoln High school and has taught vocal music for 22 years within the Lincoln Consolidated School District. Toni’s groups have performed twice with the YSO and the Michigan Men’s Glee Club.
Edwin Olson, Concertmaster
Edwin Olson joined the Ypsilanti Symphony Orchestra in 2011 and has served as concertmaster since 2013. He previously served as concertmaster of the Cambridge Symphony Orchestra in Massachusetts and played with the MIT Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Olson started violin as a five-year old, playing continuously through school and touring with the Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphony. He plays a violin by Ann Arbor maker Joseph Curtin.
Mr. Olson earned a PhD in computer science from MIT in 2008 for his work on robotic mapping. He joined the computer science department at the University of Michigan inAnn Arbor in 2008 and was promoted to full Professor in 2020. His professionalinterests include self-driving cars, and he has contributed to autonomous vehicles at MIT, U-M, Ford, and Toyota Research Institute. In 2017, he founded May Mobility, an Ann Arbor-based startup creating self-driving shuttles with the vision of transforming cities by making transportation more equitable, accessible, and sustainable.
Mr. Olson lives in Ann Arbor with his wife and two children.
Adam C. Riccinto, Founder and Music Director
Adam C. Riccinto is the founding music director of the Ypsilanti Symphony Orchestra and is an active conductor, performer, and clinician throughout southeastern Michigan. As an arts coach, Mr. Riccinto works with musicians and performers of all ages and disciplines to help them to advance their craft.
Alongside the YSO, Mr. Riccinto also serves as the Director of Worship Arts at St. Michael Lutheran Church of Canton, MI where among other duties he conducts the Adult Choir, Bell Choir, and leads the contemporary worship band. He also served as Director of Choral Activities and Arts Advisor at Ypsilanti Community Schools from 2014 – 2016. Other teaching credits include strings and general music at Fortis Academy in Ypsilanti, Michigan from 2004 – 2008 and Elementary vocal music for the Taylor School District. He is also a frequent guest clinician with regional High School and Middle School choirs and orchestras.
Prior to founding the YSO, Mr. Riccinto served as music director of the Tecumseh Pops Orchestra from 1996-1999. He has also held posts as Director of Music at Orchard United Methodist Church in Farmington Hills, MI, Interim Worship Pastor at First Baptist Church in Ypsilanti, Director of Music at Rosedale Gardens Presbyterian Church in Livonia, Michigan from 2000-2001 and the First United Methodist Church in Howell, Michigan from 1998-2000. Musical theater credits include vocal direction for the Ann Arbor Civic Theater, and musical direction for the Chelsea Area Players.
As a guest conductor, Mr. Riccinto has appeared with Spectrum Orchestra, the Royal Oak Symphony Orchestra, Chelsea Symphony of Manhattan, the Adrian Symphony Orchestra, the Warren Symphony Orchestra, Measure for Measure: A Men’s Choral Society, and Eastern Michigan University’s Collegium Musicum and Chamber Choir and other regional and school ensembles.
As a performer, Mr. Riccinto appears professionally throughout Metro Detroit as a pianist, vocalist, cellist, and guest conductor. Outside of music, Adam is an entrepreneur and sales/organizational development coach. He resides in Ypsilanti with his wife of twenty-three years, two sons, and labrador retriever, “Maestro.”