the_best_buy-300x112 All Concerts are on Sundays at 3:00 p.m.
at Valley Vista Performing Arts Center
15550 N. Parkview Place, Surprise, AZ 85374




DECEMBER 18, 2016

Bizet:                    L’Arlesienne Suite No. 1
Debussy:             The Children’s Corner
Holcombe:         Hanukkah Festival of Lights
Chadwick:          Noel from Symphonic Sketches
Tchaikovsky:     Selections from the Nutcracker Ballet


George Bizet (1838-1875) wrote twenty-seven pieces as incidental music to the play L’Arlesienne by Alphonse Daudet in 1872. The story is a tragic tale of a young man in love with a woman whom he cannot have. The play was first performed with Bizet’s music on October 1, 1872, but it wasn’t well received and closed soonafter. Bizet salvaged four movements of his wonderful music into what is now known and the First Suite. (The second suite was done by another composer.) The Overture is a series of variations on a march theme from an old French Christmas tune – the March of the Three Kings.

Claude Debussy (1862-1918) wrote the piano suite Children’s Corner from 1906 to 1908. It is not a collection for children to play so much as an adult’s affectionate remembrance of childhood. The set was dedicated to Debussy’s young daughter Claude-Emma, affectionately called ChouChou, “with her father’s tender apologies for what follows”. The work features a number of her favorite toys: Jimbo the elephant, a doll, a cardboard shepherd and a golliwog. The Snow is Dancing is a childlike rationalization of the swirling movements of falling snow, while in Dr. Graud ad Parnassum (the title refers to a book of piano studies by Clementi) Debussy wittily depicts the desultory practicing of a less than totally committed young piano student. The suite for piano was orchestrated by André Caplet in 1911.

Although William “Bill” Holcombe (1924-2010) was primarily known as an arranger and composer of music for recording dates and symphony orchestras, for many years he pursued a parallel career as a professional woodwind doubler. He studied composition at the University of Pennsylvania and Julliard. Later he met Tommy Dorsey, who hired him as a utility reed player and staff arranger.  After a year with the Tommy Dorsey Band, Bill returned to New York, taking a position with Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians. Later he was hired to play first flute for Metro Goldwyn Mayer at their New York radio station, WMGM.  In the late fifties, Bill wrote the music for several film scores. Throughout the sixties, he wrote for the recording orchestra 101 Strings during the day and played Broadway musicals at night.

George Whitefield Chadwick (1854-1931) was one of the most highly regarded of American composers. Born in Boston, Chadwick studied music at the New England Conservatory of Music. For some time he was engaged in his father’s insurance business, but in 1877 he decided that he wanted a career in music. Like many other American musicians, he went to Germany to study. In 1880 he returned to Boston where he began his long and successful career as composer, conductor, and teacher.

In 1896 Chadwick published a suite called Symphonic Sketches, which included four separate pieces. The second of these is titled Noël. In the score Chadwick wrote the following:

Through the soft, calm moonlight comes a sound;

A mother lulls her babe, and all around

The gentle snow lies glistening;

On such a night the Virgin Mother mild

In a dreamless slumber wrapped the Holy Child,

While angel-hosts were listening.

The Nutcracker ballet from 1891-1892 contains some of Tchaikovsky’s most well-known and most loved music. He wrote the ballet and the opera Iolanta on a commission from the Imperial Opera. But he wasn’t thrilled about doing it. A trip to America seemed to put the composer in good spirits and stimulated him to complete both scores. E.T.A. Hoffman wrote the original story on which The Nutcracker is based in 1816. Alexander Dumas (the writer of The Three Musketeers) turned the often scary and fierce German tale into Casse-Noisette for French children, and this telling of the story became the basis of the ballet.

The Nutcracker was given its première at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg on Sunday, December 18, 1892, on a double-bill with Iolanta. Neither was well-received, although the suite Tchaikovsky made (mostly from the second act) has remained popular ever since. But eventually the greatness of the work has been recognized and the entire ballet has entered the repertoire of ballet companies everywhere.

-Marty Haub

Concert Sponsored by:  BetteAronsohn


JANUARY 15, 2017

Mozart:               Don Giovanni Overture
Chopin:               Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor  (Erin Hales, piano)
Beethoven:        Symphony No. 6 “Pastoral”

Concert Sponsored by:  EdwardJones


FEBRUARY 12, 2017

Brahms:               Hungarian Dances Nos. 5, 6 & 7
Sarasate:             Zigeunerwiesen  (Jonathan Okseniuk, violin)
Liszt:                     Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2
Bartok:                Concerto for Orchestra

Concert Sponsored by:  Leas

Guest Artist Sponsored by:  Barbara


MARCH 12, 2017

An Afternoon at the Movies
Great themes from: Star Wars, Superman, E.T., Star Trek, The Magnificent 7, the Good, The Bad and The Ugly, Laura’s Theme, The Pink Panther, Okahoma, The Music Man, and My Fair Lady.

Concert Sponsored by:  LOGO - Schuld Family logo (2)

Click Here to Download 2016-2017 Program PDF File


All Concerts are on Sundays at 3:00 p.m.
at Valley Vista Performing Arts Center
15550 N. Parkview Place, Surprise, AZ 85374


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