The GBSO Celebrates the Season with 'Holiday Pops!'

Soprano Karen Schrock and Steve March-Tormé to Perform

From St. Norbert College, December 2, 2011
by Mike Counter, mike.counter@snc.edu, (920) 403-3089

Continuing one of Green Bay's most anticipated holiday events, conductor Dudley Birder will lead the Green Bay Symphony Orchestra (GBSO), the Dudley Birder Chorale, and the Birder Studio of Performing Arts in Holiday Pops!, two evenings of classic carols and seasonal pops music. The concerts are Friday and Saturday, Dec. 9 & 10 at 7:30 p.m. at the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets are available through Ticket Star at 920-494-3401 or 800-895-0071.

Guest soprano Karen Schrock, a native of Green Bay, will host the evening's festivities, and Steve March-Tormé from The Avenue 91.1 makes a guest appearance to sing "The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)" which was composed by his famous father, Mel Tormé, at age 19 and has become one of the all-time holiday classics. The Birder Studio of Performing Arts will engage the audience with their youthful voices and pre-show holiday skits; 120 children from the studio will be participating.

Members of the GBSO's Youth Orchestra Program will be performing a "side by side" with the GBSO: Sam Dickinson (trumpet), Green Bay Southwest High School; Brad Dallman (horn), and Virginia Haupt (violin), De Pere High School.

The concerts feature popular and traditional holiday favorites including "Three Carols" arranged by Mack Wilberg, music director for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir as well as beloved songs including "Sleigh Ride," "I'll Be Home for Christmas" and traditional carols "Silent Night" and "Jingle Bells."

Concert-goers are asked to bring non-perishable food and toiletry items for Paul's Pantry, a local food pantry that operates solely on the generous donations and volunteer hours of the surrounding community. The pantry was founded in 1984 by the late Leo Frigo, president of Frigo's Cheese, and allows needy families to shop for their own groceries. There will be collection bins set up near the hospitality table and coat check area at the Weidner Center. For a complete list of most-needed items, go to: http://www.paulspantry.org.

About Dudley Birder: Dudley Birder has been Professor of Music at St. Norbert College since 1958; he conducts the Dudley Birder Chorale and also serves as Artistic Director of St. Norbert College Music Theatre, which he founded in 1961. The College recently awarded him the President's Medal "for his dedication to his art and service to his community."

During his tenure at the College he founded and directed the Chamber Singers and the Swinging Knights. Birder is familiar to local audiences as a frequent guest conductor with the GBSO, conducting "A Night on Broadway" with Michael Maguire in spring of 2000, Giuseppe Verdi's "Manzoni Requiem" in May 2001 and, since 1997, each of the GBSO's popular annual Christmas concerts.

Birder holds A.B. and M.M. degrees from the University of Notre Dame and has done post-graduate study in music and theatre at the University of Minnesota and UCLA. He has been a Rockefeller Scholar at the Choral Institute of the Aspen Music Festival and performed with the Roger Wagner Master Chorale.

Birder made his Carnegie Hall debut in 1990 conducting the Manhattan Symphony chorus and soloists in Puccini's Messa di Gloria. He later returned to conduct Howard Hanson's Cherubic Hymn, Vivaldi's massive Beatus Vir and Faure's Requiem. In 1995, he assisted John Rutter in preparing the Carnegie Hall Easter Sunday performance of Rutter's Magnificat and Vivaldi's Gloria. Birder also conducted The Collegiate Chorale of St. Norbert College on the Carnegie stage in Mozart's Requiem (1993) and Handel's Messiah (1996).

About Karen Schrock: Green Bay native Karen Schrock earned degrees in music and astronomy from the University of Southern California. She has performed extensively with a variety of ensembles including the USC Chamber Choir under the direction of William Dehning; the USC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Dehning, David Wilson and Helmut Rilling; the Pacific Chorale and the John Alexander Singers, conducted by John Alexander; the Boston Pops under the baton of Keith Lockhart; the Young New Yorkers' Chorus directed by Michael Kerschner; and Canticum Novum, led by Harold Rosenberg. She most recently performed in Green Bay in 2008 as the soprano soloist in The Messiah, conducted by Randall Meder, in a peformance by the Green Bay Symphony Choir with Chamber Orchestra and the UW-Green Bay Chorale and Concert Choir. She currently lives in Pennsylvania and works as an editor for Scientific American Mind magazine and studies voice in New York City with Catherine Mazzone.

Ticket Information
Tickets for this concert start at $15 (student tickets are $6) and are available by calling Ticket Star at (920) 494-3401 or toll-free at (800) 895-0071. For more information, visit http://www.greenbaysymphony.org.