Tupelo symphony plans varied holiday program

TUPELO – During the rush and run of December, you’ll probably find yourself slipping in and out of the Christmas mood.
On Saturday, the Tupelo Symphony Orchestra will be ready to help with a barrage of good cheer.
“We’ll have a full orchestra and we’ll have these extraordinary singers, Steve Amerson and Laurie Gayle Stephenson, and, also, we’ll have the Tupelo High School Madrigals,” said Steven Byess, TSO musical director. “The concert is in the Link Centre, which will be decorated for the holidays.”
The program features about 25 pieces that mix the sacred and secular into a variety of styles. The Madrigals will open the night with “Pastime with Good Company,” “Le Sommeil de l’Enfant Jesus” and “Ding Dong! Merrily on High,” which have been part of Christmas celebrations for hundreds of years.
“We’ll do some very traditional things, like those first three a cappella selections, to some really updated, splashy Broadway-style pieces, and almost everything in between,” Byess said.

World-class artists
He said the show should flow quickly from one song to another, even though “it’s chocked full of pieces. Steve and Laurie Gayle are accustomed to doing these programs that just flow along. I think it’s going to be dynamic, even though it’s an intimate program.”
Amerson and Stephenson are getting a reputation as the orchestra’s go-to singers for holidays. The pair performed in February during TSO’s Valentine’s program.
“Steve has sung on so many movies in Hollywood. He is one of the first-called singers. If you put anything in front of Steve, he will sing it beautifully,” Byess said. “He sings opera and popular works. There’s really no style he can’t embrace.
“It’s the same with Laurie Gayle. She made her mark especially on Broadway, but she has this wonderful, beautiful flexibility and versatility.
“With the two of them, it’s astonishing,” he continued. “It’s so easy to plan a program because I can ask them to do anything, and they’ll do it.”
You’ll hear “My Favorite Things,” along with “Sing We Noel, Noel” and “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” with a dash of “Gloria” and a helping of “Silent Night” plus many more.
After all that, don’t be surprised if you find yourself immersed in the Christmas spirit.
Maybe the mood will carry through to your next round of shopping.

Contact M. Scott Morris at (662) 678-1589 or scott.morris@djournal.com.

Concert information:
Tupelo Symphony Orechestra with Steven Amerson and Laurie Gayle Stephenson will perform at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 12 in the Link Centre Concert Hall. Tupelo High School Madrigals will perform. Tickets are $20 in advance/$25 at door/$10 students. (662) 842-8433.

M. Scott Morris/NEMS Daily Journal