Witness a musical union

SPRINGFIELD - Two marriages will take place on the stage of Symphony Hall during the March 3 Springfield Symphony Orchestra concert at 8 p.m. The Springfield Symphony Chorus and the University of Massachusetts Chamber Choir and Chorale will join in the performance expanding the choral forces to over 220 voices.

"We'll have the marriage of the full orchestra with the combined chorus' in concert, and then selections from the well-loved "Marriage of Figaro" by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart," said Maestro Kevin Rhodes.

Rhodes said the orchestra will showcase "the ultimate musical instrument the human voice" in Brahms' "German Requiem" as well as two audience favorites, selections from Bizet's "Carmen" and Mozart's "Marriage of Figaro."

"The concert will be a rich, vibrant performance with the help of two talented soloists, soprano Janice Chandler-Eteme and baritone Leon Williams," Rhodes said.

"It will be a great opportunity when we play Brahams' 'Requiem' to contrast his contemplations on the human existence alongside Mozart's and Bizet's very 'blood and guts' expressions about life in two of their most famous works," he said.

To enhance the listening experience in the acoustically correct Symphony Hall, a section of the chorus will sing from the loge (balcony).

Rhodes said Rhodes, "It will be like a live, true version of 'surround sound. Audiences will be enlivened with the music coming at them from different directions."

The Springfield Symphony Chorus is directed by Nikki Stoia and the UMass chorus is lead by E. Wayne Ambercrombie.

Rhodes will hold an informal half-hour discussion, open to ticket holders, in the hall about the evening's performance at 7 p.m. called "Classical Conversations."

Brahms finished his Requiem in 1868 inspired by the death of his mother. Far from soothing and sentimental, it is his personal statement of faith and meant to comfort those left behind and aid in a musical search for eternal life.

The concert is sponsored by TD Banknorth. MassMutual Financial Group is the official season sponsor.

All concert tickets may be purchased from the Springfield Symphony Box Office, 1350 Main Street, downtown Springfield, charged (VISA, MasterCard American Express or Discover) by calling 413-733-2291 or on-line at SpringfieldSymphony.org. Tickets range from $10 to $54 with secure free parking. Tickets for youth age four to 17 are half price. A discount of 25 percent is available for groups of 10 or more.

Visit the SSO Web site at www.SpringfieldSymphony.org.

Springfield Symphony Orchestra performances are made possible through the generosity of donors, concertgoers, Business Friends of the Arts, Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency, and the National Endowment for the Arts.