Category Archives: Concerts

Pictures Say A 1,000 Words: Bohemian Souls

The Mansfield Symphony Orchestra is a very important part of the Renaissance Performing Arts Association. Founded in 1930, the Mansfield Symphony is deeply rooted in our community. It was the merging of the Mansfield Symphony Orchestra with the Renaissance Theatre in 1997 that created the association we have today – Renaissance Performing Arts.

Each season, the Mansfield Symphony Orchestra holds six concerts. Three concerts are called “Masterworks” which highlight famous and classic symphonic repertoire, and three concerts are called “Pops” which honors more popular compositions.

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The first concert in the 2019-20 Season was titled “Bohemian Souls” for the compositions performed on the concert – Missy Mazzoli’s Sinfonia (for orbiting spheres), the beautiful Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto with Spanish virtuoso, Francisco Fullanaand Dvořák’s Symphony No. 8, which was composed in honor of his election into the Bohemian Academy of Science, Literature and Arts.

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Pictures Say A 1,000 Words: Honoring Joe Diffie

This third installment of our blog series, “Pictures Say A 1,000 Words,” is diverting from its course of highlighting the 2019-20 Season at the Renaissance.

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This past weekend, country music legend, Joe Diffie passed away from COVID-19. The Renaissance was fortunate enough to have him grace our stage just a season ago. As was his trademark style, the show had the theatre rockin’ and near a thousand of his fans had the time of their lives. The following photographs are a way to pay our respects to this extraordinary artist.

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Fear and Rebellion

Fear and Rebellion from a Russian Rockstar

In our most recent Renaissance podcast, Mark Sebastian Jordan gives an outstanding discussion on Shostakovich Symphony 12, which is the final piece on the upcoming Mansfield Symphony Orchestra concert, “Revolutions,” on February 8, 2020.

One of the points Mark touches on is the oppression Shostakovich had to endure in Russia for basically his entire life and music was a way to express his feelings without the Russian authorities hauling him away to Siberia or worse – death.

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What does “Bohemian” really mean?

The upcoming Mansfield Symphony Orchestra concert on September 21, 2019 is called “Bohemian Souls.” The definition of a Bohemian is “[one who is] socially unconventional in an artistic way.” Dvorak who was actually from Bohemia defines this. Tchaikovsky and his tumultuous life define this. Missy Mazolli who is breaking all of the rules in the composition world defines this. At this concert, you will hear TONS of Bohemian sounds.

But, the word Bohemian does not necessarily bring up sound. When I think of being a Bohemian, I want to wear loud prints, wear gaudy jewelry, and drink cheap wine in a dive bar in Brooklyn. But, why?  What makes the word Bohemian define such a visual?

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If Your Song Doesn’t Have Artillery Fire In It, Then You Are Doing It Wrong

Before you get your hopes up, the answer is “No, Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture will not be on the upcoming Mansfield Symphony Orchestra’s “Russian Spectacular” concert on February 9.” [The crowd begins to shriek and gasp!]. Seriously – the Renaissance Theatre just can’t possibly afford the damage caused by five cannons!

With all kidding aside, this work is to most people THE masterpiece of Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s, or at least in the top three. With our inspired all-Russian concert coming up, I thought I would briefly review this masterwork, as it happens to be the piece that inspired me to become a musician.

Battle of Borodino 1812

Battle of Borodino 1812

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Three Things You Learn in Choir

by Colleen Cook

Like many singers, choir has been an important part of my life since I could walk and talk. My earliest choral experiences were at church in a “Cherub Choir” made up of preschoolers for the holiday concert. (Kudos to those of you corralling preschoolers to stand in one area and do anything!) Throughout my education, I was involved in several choirs at church and school, and even ended up working with choirs as music educator at the beginning of my career. A few things are always true about choirs: they bond people together.

For the past six years, the Mansfield Symphony Chorus has partnered with several high school choirs to create a magical concert we’ve called “Sing Out! A Choral Celebration.” This event has a synergy that’s palpable, with so many voices coming together in harmony to fill our theatre with beautiful singing. Young and old, experienced and novice, side by side singing together. It’s nothing short of magical.

The singers in these choirs and the people that lead them know that singing together truly evokes an experience unlike any other. It also teaches you some very important truths about yourself and others. Here are a few of the lessons I’ve learned from singing in choirs:

Every Voice Matters

It is truly remarkable how necessary each voice can be to a choir. The timbre of the chorus is impacted when a new voice comes or someone leaves, but so is the culture of the group. Anyone who has been in an ensemble can attest to certain voices that made the time together in rehearsals and performance special in one way or another. Each person brings something to the table when you sing in chorus.

Listen to the People Around You

It’s easy to tell a novice choral singer from an experienced one: the novice will sing without listening, but the experienced singer has learned to listen to those around them to match tone, vowel shapes, and timbre to create a seamless blend of voices. A beautiful choral sound comes from compromise: adjusting your own individual voice to match those around you, which can only happen if you listen.

Power Comes from Unity

There’s a piece being performed on our upcoming Sing Out! concert called “The Awakening,” by Joseph Martin. It’s one of my all-time favorites, and if you’ve heard it you’ll probably agree. There’s this really incredible moment when the chorus goes from singing multiple lines and parts to a powerful unison, singing “Awake, awake my soul and sing!” When performed well, you can’t help but have goosebumps from the intensity and the heart behind it. Voices in unison speaking the same message has power unlike much else.

Learn more about the Sing Out concert here.