Andrews Symphony Orchestra Thanksgiving Concert

   Campus News | Posted on November 14, 2019

On Saturday, Nov. 23, at 8 p.m. at the Howard Performing Arts Center, the Andrews University Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Chris Wild and Nehemias Calsin, will perform their first “Thanksgiving” concert. The concert will explore themes of grace, friendship and regeneration.

Wild will join the orchestra as a cello soloist during the first half of the concert, performing “Cello Concerto No. 2 in D Major” by Franz Joseph Haydn. Following an intermission, Nehemias Calsin, Andrews graduate student and member of the Symphony Orchestra, will make his debut conducting the Symphony Orchestra’s performance of “Fêtes,” by Claude Debussy. Wild’s arrangement of a sing-along of the hymn “Amazing Grace,” by William Walker and John Newton, will follow “Fetes.” The audience will be invited to sing along with the Symphony Orchestra. For the final composition, the orchestra will perform “Adventures on Earth” by John Williams, from Steven Spielberg’s film “E.T. (The Extra-Terrestrial).”

Haydn’s “Cello Concerto No. 2 in D Major” was written for the central European court of Prince Esterházy in 1783. For the Symphony Orchestra’s performance, Wild will lead the orchestra from his cello, relying on the expertise and communication inherent amongst Symphony Orchestra members. The group will strive to represent the Thanksgiving spirit
through this communal approach to Hadyn’s composition.

Debussy’s work “Fêtes” is a movement found within his larger set of movements, “Nocturnes.” The word “fêtes” can be translated to celebration, festival or party, depending on the context. Its connotation of an infectious spirit relates to the celebration of Thanksgiving.

American composer John Williams, who composed for several of Spielberg’s films, creates a musical setting for characters in Spielberg’s science-fiction film “E.T. (The Extra-Terrestrial).” The core message of the film relates to themes of Thanksgiving. It is about the enduring power of family and friendship and the belief that those from seemingly different backgrounds can find things they have in common. The piece “Adventures on Earth” is heard near the movie’s emotional climax.

Tickets for this event can be purchased at and are $6 for general seating and $4 for students and seniors. There is a two-ticket limit if purchasing with a student ID.

For additional information, contact the Howard box office at 269-471-3560. For a full season schedule of events at the Howard Performing Arts Center, visit