DuPage Symphony Orchestra ends the 2021-22 season with 'Celebrations'

What does it mean to celebrate despite all the difficulties, obstacles and problems? It means showing the strength and the power of life, positivity, and hope for a bright future.

The DuPage Symphony Orchestra came out of the pandemic even more determined and impassioned than before, because the challenges that it had to face only strengthened the spirit of the musicians and their love for classical music.

For a grand finale to the 2021-2022 season, the DuPage Symphony Orchestra joins forces with a popular Naperville Chorus showcasing Roy Harris's remarkable "Folk Song Symphony for Chorus and Orchestra."

The concerts with the theme, "Celebrations," will be at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 30, and 3 p.m. Sunday, May 1, at Wentz Concert Hall in Naperville.

It's important to note that the DuPage Symphony Orchestra was named the 2021 Community Orchestra of the Year. In big part, this success came from the enthusiasm, devotion, and hard work of the DuPage Orchestra music director and conductor Barbara Schubert.

"The musicians of the DuPage Symphony are overjoyed to return to rehearsing and performing for the 2021-22 season," remarked Music Director Barbara Schubert in the beginning of the season. "The events of the past year and a half have had a profound effect the world over, spurring us all to embrace our global connections and strive to redress the imbalances in society. In choosing the repertoire for the coming year, I have tried to reflect on the very serious challenges we face, and also celebrate the unique ability that great music holds to comfort, inspire, and unite people from all backgrounds."

Yes, it was a great season. Culminating its yearlong musical odyssey to "Reflect and Celebrate," the orchestra will start the "Celebrations" concert program with Roy Harris's remarkable Folk Song Symphony for Chorus and Orchestra. It will join forces with the popular Naperville Chorus, under the direction of Jeordano Martínez. The Naperville Chorus, founded in 1976, is dedicated to the advancement of choral music, the presentation of choral programs, and the encouragement of cultural music in the community.

"As the fourth of Harris's 13 numbered symphonies, this seven-movement work features an eclectic mix of cowboy songs, ballads, spirituals, and marching songs from frontier America, all set in the richly melodic and skillfully orchestrated musical language of a mature master," says the DuPage Symphony Orchestra's website.

Roy Harris was one of America's most prolific symphonic composers. However, his works are mostly known only in America. Harris wrote his Fourth Symphony in 1940. It is based on American folk songs of the 19th century, particularly of the Civil War period (1861-65).

"The work opens with the song 'The Girl I Left Behind Me' and ends with 'When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again," both famous Civil War tunes," Harris wrote of this symphony. "To express the nostalgia of loneliness, I chose two of America's best loved lonesome songs, 'Bury Me Not On the Lone Prairie' and 'He's Gone Away.' For the Negros - who so admirably represent our nation both in war and music - I chose that wonderful spiritual 'De Trumpet Sounds It In My Soul.' I wrote the choral parts for the range of good high school choruses, with the thought that such choruses might have a work to prepare with the symphony orchestras of our cities."

This gala program will continue with a selection of popular American spirituals in lush settings by William Dawson, sung by the Naperville Chorus alone. Dawson was an African American vocalist, composer, and music educator. His rich musical heritage became a basis for his music, including arrangements of folk songs and original compositions. His beautiful spiritual arrangements and original pieces have been celebrated by choirs and audiences since they were first published and have become among the most widely performed choral works for concerts, contests, and festival settings.

Copland's engaging "Tender Land Suite" will conclude this celebratory concert program. Composed in 1958, "Tender Land Suite" is based on Copland's only full length opera and is arranged from its score. It includes the love duet, the lively square dance, and the stirring and beautiful The Promise of Living.

The emotional conclusion of this composition will summarize the idea of the entire concert program and the idea of the entire concert season. We will keep living, we will keep enjoying music, and we will keep finding inspiration in it.

Tickets start at $38. Purchase your tickets at, from the North Central box office at, or by calling 630-637-SHOW.

A free preconcert lecture with Duff Harris will be offered on Saturday, April 30. The lecture starts at 6:45 p.m. in room 138.

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