November 29, 2012

Jessica Pope
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator

VSO Enjoys ‘Nutcracker’ Partnership with Dance Arts

VALDOSTA — The Valdosta Symphony Orchestra is used to performing on Valdosta State University’s Whitehead Auditorium stage. The musicians are used to being the center of the audience’s attention.

This weekend, however, the Valdosta Symphony Orchestra will play from inside the pit of Mathis City Auditorium, assuming a supportive, as opposed to starring, role as Linda C. Chase’s Dance Arts dancers take center stage for their annual performance of “The Nutcracker.” Dr. Howard Hsu, VSO music director, noted that the musicians are ready for the challenge of coordinating the music being played with what the dancers are doing onstage.

“All the additional effort pays off handsomely when live music and dance combine to create a special experience for the audience and performers,” he said.

This is the third year the Valdosta Symphony Orchestra has partnered with the local dance school. Hsu said that it was Dr. Doug Farwell, VSO principal trombonist and executive director, who facilitated the partnership. 

“It has been a wonderful collaboration, and we hope it continues,” Hsu added. “Many larger cities have performances of ‘The Nutcracker’ that use recorded music due to budget issues, so we are fortunate to have ‘The Nutcracker’ with a live orchestra.”

For many families, this weekend’s performances of “The Nutcracker” will be the first time they have heard the Valdosta Symphony Orchestra play.

“The orchestra looks forward to ‘The Nutcracker’ every year because it is a great way to kick off the holiday season and the music is so famous, yet fresh and fun to perform,” Hsu said. “We really enjoy seeing families in the audience for whom this has become a holiday tradition.”

Performances of “The Nutcracker” will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 30, 1 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 1, and 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 2, at Mathis City Auditorium, 2300 N. Ashley St. Tickets are $12 for the two evening and the Sunday performances and $8 for the special narrated Saturday matinee. Reservations are required. Visit for more information.

The next Valdosta Symphony Orchestra concert will be held at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 26. It will be followed by the group’s annual family concert at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 27. Visit for more information.