Marquette Orchestra performs family-friendly holiday music

NW Staff

By Alicia Stanek

The Marquette Symphony Orchestra is celebrating the holidays with two concerts. The first is an afternoon family concert from 2 to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 17. It will feature highlights of the full concert specially selected for a younger audience. The full concert will be at 7:30 p.m. that same day. Both concerts will take place in Kaufman Auditorium.

“I have gone to every concert the orchestra has put on since I’ve been at Northern,” said junior music major Kaitlin Howard. “The players impress me every time and I always want to come back for more.”

The concert will be made up of selections of holiday music such as “The Nutcracker Ballet,” “Christmas at the Movies,” “Hanukkah Festival Overture,” “Sleigh Ride” and others.

“I especially love when they have a soloist,” Howard said. “I always enjoy hearing music played so well and would love to be able to play like any of them someday.”

Janis Shier Peterson is the concert master for the Marquette Symphony Orchestra. She started the orchestra in 1997 with Donald Grant, the head of the music department at NMU.

“The holiday concerts are really fun because the audience loves them,” Peterson said.

The conductor of the orchestra is Dr. Jacob Chi. Of the orchestra’s 72 players, about 60 are from Marquette County. At the moment, there are two orchestra members who are high school or college students. Other key players travel from the Lower Peninsula and northeast Wisconsin.

“The orchestra members are absolutely phenomenal,” Peterson said.

The orchestra plays four concerts in a year, typically one in September, December, February and May. The orchestra only meets four times a year for these concerts. The music that is played is very advanced repertoire.

“One of the most amazing things about the orchestra is that the members all have day jobs but come together at night to create exceptional music,” Peterson said.

In 1927, the Graveraet High School, where the Kaufman Auditorium is located, opened its doors.

The Kaufman Auditorium provides students and the Marquette community the opportunity to watch, study and experience the performing arts.

Louis Graveraet Kaufman, a local businessman and philanthropist at the time, gave money in 1916 to buy the property on which the school is built.

Kaufman also endowed the school and auditorium with money.

He was the first person in the United States to endow a high school and Graveraet High School was the first high school in the country to be endowed.

In appreciation of Kaufman’s donation, the board voted to name the school after Kaufman’s mother, Juliet Graveraet. They later named the auditorium after Kaufman himself.

“I think it would be fun to go because I haven’t been to an orchestra concert, and I hear that this one is really good,” said Ryan Livermore, a junior environmental science major.

Ticket prices are $12 for adults, $8 for students and $4 for children 12 and under. Tickets are available at EZ Ticket Outlets, by calling (906) 227-1032 or by visiting www.nmu.edu/tickets.

“Being a student is hard enough as it is, so I appreciate that the ticket prices are reasonable,” Livermore said. “That way I can go and not have to worry about spending too much money.”

For more details, visit the Marquette Symphony Orchestra website at http://www.MarquetteSymphony.org.