The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: The Madison Symphony Orchestra rings in the holidays with its annual Christmas concerts and a Free Community Carol Sing this weekend.

November 26, 2012
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By Jacob Stockinger

Make a Joyful Noise, the Bible tells us.

This weekend, Music Director John DeMain (below top) and the Madison Symphony Orchestra (MSO) will again follow that advice and ring in the holiday season with what has become a favorite Madison tradition that typically draws up to 6,000 people to Overture Hall and includes Santa hats, which will be available for purchase in the lobby.

Performances this weekend are in Overture Hall on Friday night at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday night at 8 p.m.; and Sunday afternoon at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $16.50-$78.50 with student rush tickets selling  for $10. Visit or call (608) 258-4141.

This year’s “Madison Symphony Christmas” features guest soloists mezzo-soprano Emily Fons (below top) and tenor David Portillo (below bottom).

Also included are return appearances by some favorite local guests: the Madison Symphony Chorus; the Mt. Zion Gospel Choir (below top) under Leotha Stanley; and the Madison Youth Choirs (below bottom).

The concert will feature of classical and popular music including familiar and well known carols as well as music by Handel, Mozart, Schubert, Gounod, Tchaikovsky and John Rutter. The caroling in the lobby (below), led from the balcony by the MSO Chorus prior to the performance, has become one of this concert’s most popular aspects.

For more information visit:

For program notes, with much more about repertoire, by J. Michael Allsen, visit:

Season Subscriptions are still available, at 50% off and including the Christmas concert, at and through the MSO offices at (608) 257.3734.

Single concert tickets are available at and through the Overture Center Box Office at 201 State Street, (608) 258-4141.

Seniors and Students save 20% and the MSO’s $10 Student Rush is good for best available seats on the day of the concert. Groups of 15 or more save 25%.


On this Saturday morning, Dec. 1, the Madison Symphony Orchestra will offer its 
FREE Community Christmas Carol Sing this year at 11 a.m. in Overture Hall. It is an old-fashioned sing-along with MSO organist Samuel Hutchison (below top) and the MSO’s Overture Concert Organ (below bottom).

The Free Community Hymn Sings and Christmas Carol Sing are FREE and open to the public. All ages are welcome. No tickets or reservations are needed. Each event lasts 45 minutes to an hour.

A growing Madison tradition, the Hymn Sings and Christmas Carol Sing are part of the MSO’s Overture Concert Organ season and are presented in partnership with the Overture Center.

For more information,  call the Madison Symphony at (608) 257-3734 or visit


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