PRINCETON — Though it was the Illinois Valley Symphony Orchestra’s first public concert in Princeton in its 63-season history, it was as if a long-time friend came home for the holidays.
Beginning with a warm welcoming reception from the audience, IVSO’s Dec. 8 holiday concert concluded with a standing ovation from a packed house in the Sally Skinner Council Auditorium at Princeton High School.
After the concert, IVSO Music Director and Conductor Lucia Matos said, “It was a very special concert for us. We felt truly welcomed by the community of Princeton. The audience was warm and appreciative.”
About guest artist Susan Nelson, who performed “Silent Night,” “O Mio Babbino Caro,” and more, Matos said, “We were very fortunate to have the opportunity to collaborate with Susan Nelson, a soprano who has not only a very beautiful, rich voice, but also a very refined sense of style.”
The orchestra’s performance of “’Twas the Night Before Christmas” was enhanced by Princeton Mayor Keith Cain’s narration of the beloved poem, while Lucas, Sean and Samantha Muñoz (ages 6, 8 and 10) listened from the floor of the stage.
Certainly not to be upstaged, near the end of “Sleigh Ride,” Santa himself appeared to delight all with a jolly “Ho-ho-ho.” Though it was intermission, “not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse,” as Santa spread holiday cheer and candy canes to a charmed audience.
In speaking about the holiday concert, Matos said, “It was, in every way, a very memorable evening for us!”