Quincy Symphony Orchestra to present ‘Northern Lights’ concert Sunday in Morrison Theater

Northern Lights (1)

“The Legend of the Northern Lights” is a fusion of science and fantasy that captures the imaginations of all ages, seamlessly combining music, film, narration and animation. | Photo courtesy of Quincy Symphony Orchestra

QUINCY — The Northern Lights will come alive with a Quincy Symphony Orchestra performance at 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 1, in Quincy Junior High School’s Morrison Theater.

Taking as inspiration a Canadian children’s story, “The Legend of the Northern Lights” is a fusion of science and fantasy that captures the imaginations of all ages, seamlessly combining music, film, narration and animation. It recognizes both the cultural stories surrounding the aurora and the actual science that causes them.

Narration by Quincy father-daughter duo, Logan and Everly Kammerer highlights the questions and legends behind the Northern Lights while the critically acclaimed film plays on Morrison Theater’s 22-foot projection screen and the orchestra performs the score by composer Christopher Theofanidis. The QSO is under the direction of Bruce Briney.

The film by Jose Francisco Salgado takes the audience on a voyage from the Earth’s upper atmosphere to the Sun and to the far reaches of subarctic Canada. This multimedia work features NASA images of the Sun, NASA animations of coronal mass ejections interacting with the Earth’s magnetic field, and the auroras from space as well as original time-lapse photography of this wondrous phenomenon shot on location, from Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada.

Briney and Salgado will share a pre-concert discussion on the Northern Lights at 2:30 p.m. Sunday. A concert ticket is required to attend. 

The Quincy Symphony Orchestra previously teamed up with Salgado in 2018 for “The Planets” Science and Symphony production. Salgado will take up a short-term residency in Quincy this week and conduct demonstrations at area schools. Salgado will discuss the creation of “The Legend of the Northern Lights” as a guest lecturer at the Quincy Astronomy Club at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 28, in the Mary Ellen Orr Auditorium at John Wood Community College. That event is free and open to the public.

The orchestra opens the concert with Hector Berlioz’s “Roman Carnival Overture,” a work described by the Listeners’ Club as a “blazing explosion of color” and an “exhilarating, nine-minute-long joyride of orchestral color.” 

The orchestra will perform “Symphony No. 5” by Finland’s most famous composer, Jean Sibelius. Sibelius’s Fifth Symphony pairs beautifully with the Northern Lights as it depicts the breadth and majesty of a vast, unfolding Nordic landscape. It is influenced by the bleak, remote northern latitudes, where perceptions of time may be altered by seasonal cycles that involve extended periods of darkness alternating with glorious light.

Tickets for “The Legend of the Northern Lights” concert are available at the door or in advance at HyVee, Sturhahn Jewelers, the symphony office or qsoa.org. Tickets are $15 for seniors and $18 for adults. Thanks in part to support from the Tracy Family Foundation and the Community Foundation, children 18 and under are admitted free to all QSO concerts.

The Golden Baton season sponsors are the Knapheide Manufacturing Company and Blessing Health System. The concert is made possible in part by concert sponsor Gardner Denver, guest artist sponsor Homebank, music sponsor Stevenson Paxton and the Illinois Arts Council Agency.

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