Symphony Orchestra to Perform Thanksgiving Concert

   Campus News | Posted on November 11, 2021

On Saturday, Nov. 20, at 8 p.m., the Andrews University Symphony Orchestra (AUSO) will perform its colorful Thanksgiving concert, titled “Journey,” at the Howard Performing Arts Center. While audience members will be required to wear a mask in attendance, there will be no limits on seating capacity. Community members are invited to join in person for live music.

The AUSO will perform George Frideric Handel’s “Overture to Esther,” introductory music for the biblical story of Esther that represents a journey of faith and courage. Handel’s “Overture to Esther,” completed in 1732, contrasts with the other two pieces in the concert written more than two centuries later. A splendid example of Baroque Era instrumental music, the music captures the elegance of Esther as well as the obstacles she encounters, and ultimately, her grace and courage on behalf of all Jewish people.

Next, Nehemias Calsin, a graduate student from the Department of Music, will lead the orchestra in performing two pieces from The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy: “The Two Towers,” written by Howard Shore and arranged by Jerry Brubaker, and “The Fellowship of the Ring,” written by Howard Shore and arranged by John Whitney. The protagonists in these fantastical movies—a pair of hobbits named Frodo and Samwise—embark on a journey that is both epic in scope and intimate in its interpersonal and intrapersonal challenges. The two hobbits encounter numerous unexpected creatures on their voyage to rid Middle Earth of existential threats. Howard Shore’s soundtrack for the movies illustrates the intimidating forces they encounter, but especially demonstrates considerable beauty throughout.

Following the intermission, the AUSO will perform several pieces from jazz legend Duke Ellington’s orchestral masterpiece “The River.” The largest composition of the concert, Ellington completed “The River” in collaboration with orchestrator Ron Collier. Though the full composition was commissioned by the American Ballet Theater, the Journey concert will feature the standard “Suite” of musical selections extracted from the ballet. This Suite includes seven watery miniatures: “Spring,” “Meander,” “Giggling Rapids,” “Lake,” “Vortex,” “Riba” and “Village of the Virgins.” Full of striking contrasts in energy and color, Ellington’s ballet originally debuted in 1970 at Lincoln Center in New York City.

Tickets for this event can be purchased at and are $7 for general seating and $5 for students. 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

Sponsors: Howard Performing Arts Center
Related Website(s):

   Jeff Boyd