The annual Tillmann Memorial Concert is set for Saturday night, as the Hamilton-Fairfield Symphony Orchestra and Chorale presents “A Peace for Humanity” at St. Maximilian Kolbe Catholic Church. The concert is free with special funding by the Hamilton Community Foundation.
“This is the biggest, single concert that we do. It is our flagship presentation,” said Paul John Stanbery, musical director and conductor, Hamilton-Fairfield Symphony Orchestra and Chorale.
“We have performed at various places throughout the city, but we have a brand new venue this year,” he said. “At St. Max, the acoustics are beautiful, both visually and as far as the sound aspect. The new venue will also enable us to accommodate a larger crowd.”
Conducted by Maestro Stanbery, this highly anticipated concert will feature Beethoven’s Symphony #9 “Ode to Joy” Op. 125 and “Dream of a Soldier” by Cincinnati composer Edward Santoro (1944). Special guests and nationally known opera singers Samantha Staton, soprano; Laura Adkins, alto; Scott Wyatt, tenor and Robert Kerr, bass-baritone as well as the Mason Chorale, directed by Karen Mail will join the group for a memorable night of entertainment. About 200 performers are expected to participate with a 75-piece orchestra and over 100 members in the chorus.
Largely considered as one of Beethoven’s greatest works, the symphony was the first example of a composer using voices in a symphony, making it a “choral symphony.” Words are sung during the final movement by four vocal soloists and a chorus. The words were taken from “Ode to Joy,” a poem originally written by Friedrich Schiller in 1785. Beethoven’s Symphony #9 “Ode to Joy” Op. 125 also prevails as one of most played symphonies in the world today.
“What’s unique about this one is that most symphonies are written as orchestra pieces. With this musical composition, Beethoven decided to create a chorus by putting text to music. It’s a stunning masterpiece,” Stanbery said. “It’s not easy to perform. It takes a lot of talent, preparation and planning to pull it off successfully.”
Stanbery said the evening is dedicated to promoting a theme of peace and it will also feature “Dream of a Soldier” by the late Edward Santoro. Santoro’s nephew, Angelo Santoro is a part of the orchestra.
“This is a way of uniting the community, almost in a prayerful way, especially since we are performing it inside of a church,” he said.
Dating back to 1951, HFSO has a rich history in the community. The Tillmann Concerts began in 1982 in memory of Diane Tillmann. The event will also kick off the 25th anniversary celebration for the St. Maximilian Kolbe Catholic Church, which will continue with a year full of festivities for the parish.