After a series of guest conductors, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra principal conductor and musical director Joann Falletta returns to kick off the holiday season with the first of three concerts that will mark the end of the 2017 BPO concert season.

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Normally attired in black, Falletta greeted the large Friday morning crowd wearing a festive red and green sequined jacket. Falletta and the BPO got the concert off to a lively start with a performance of “Dance of the Tumblers from Snow Maiden” by Nikolay Rimsky-Korsikov.

After a performance of two pieces from “The Nutcracker Suite” by Peter Illych Tchaikovsky and “Farandole from the “L’Arlesienne Suite No. 2” by Georges Bizet; soprano Aundi Marie Moore joined the BPO for a performance of “Ave Maria”. Throughout the concert Aundi would return to the stage for performances of “O Holy Night”, “Gesu Bambino”, and “Mary’s Lullaby”.

Full of guest performances, the concert also included the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus for the “Candlelight Carol”, conductor Joann Falletta’s favourite holiday piece “Jauchzt Frohlocket”, “Fanfare to Joy to the World”, and “The Hallelujah Chorus” from “The Messiah”.

When the BPO returned from the intermission Falletta and the BPO honoured two members of the Orchestra who are retiring from performing after over 50 years with the BPO.

BPO principal cellist Roman Mekinulov was joined by his 16 year old son Benjamin for their BPO debut in a performance of the first movement of the “Concerto in G minor for Two Cellos and Orchestra, RV 531” by Antonio Vivaldi.

The Orchestra performed “Concerto Grosso, Op 6, No 8” – also known as the Christmas Concerto and the “Introduction, March, and Shepherd’s Dance” from “Amahl and the Night Visitors” before Joann Falletta led the Orchestra and the audience in a festive sing-a-long that included “Joy to the World”, “Deck the Halls”, “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”, “Good King Wincelos”, Silent Night”, “Jingle Bells”, and “O Come All Ye Faithful”.

The lively and festive concert ended with the encore performance of a rousing rendition of “Sleigh Ride”.

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