Symphony orchestra, chorus sing ‘Hallelujah’ and then some

Port Angeles Symphony Holiday Concert

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8

Where: Port Angeles High School Performing Arts Center, 304 E. Park Ave.

Tickets: $18 general admission, $15 students and senior citizens, $25-$35 reserved premium; youths 16 and younger are admitted free (with a paying adult); available at Joyful Noise Music Center (112 W. Washington St., Sequim) and Port Book & News (104 E. First St., Port Angeles)

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The girl can barely contain herself.

“I am really, really excited,” said Charlotte Marckx, the nationally known teenage violinist about to join the Port Angeles Symphony Orchestra and Chorus.

In the Holiday Concert set for Saturday, Dec. 8, Marckx will play a bold Baroque classic: Antonio Vivaldi’s “Winter” from “The Four Seasons.”

“It’s musical poetry,” she said of the piece, which evokes stomping one’s feet in the cold, sliding on ice, shivery sensations and, at last, sitting by the fire.

The orchestra and chorus’ 7:30 p.m. concert will fill the Port Angeles High School Performing Arts Center, 304 E. Park Ave., with “Winter” and then some.

Highlights include selections from Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker,” ballet, Tyzik’s “Hanukkah Suite,” Strauss’ Overture to “Die Fledermaus,” and, as the choral finale, the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s “Messiah.”

In addition, the Port Angeles Symphony Chorus, 30 voices from across the North Olympic Peninsula, will invite the audience into a traditional Christmas sing-along — and “it’s amazing,” said Jonathan Pasternack, the Symphony’s conductor and music director.

“You have a thousand people, a chorus of a thousand, which is a spectacle in itself,” as this is his orchestra’s most popular program of the year.

Responding to symphony patrons’ requests, Pasternack chose the Vivaldi piece; he then contacted Marckx and invited her to be the Holiday Concert’s guest soloist.

“I had heard so many wonderful things about Charlotte. I listened to her recordings, and she is phenomenal,” he said of the 16-year-old violinist, who lives in Bellevue.

At the elite Stulberg International String Competition in Kalamazoo, Mich., earlier this year, Marckx landed the gold medal plus the Bach Award. These totaled $6,500 in award money plus an invitation to perform with the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra this January.

“Absolutely mind-boggling,” she said of her wins, especially the Bach prize.

“Thinking back, I can’t believe it happened,” added Marckx, whose whole year has been eventful. She and her cellist sister Olivia Marckx released their first CD, “Sempre Sisters,” this fall. “It’s a multi-genre crossover album,” she said, featuring Scottish folk music and her sister’s “amazing pop arrangements.”

Now Marckx is thinking ahead to her performance in Port Angeles. It’s her first trip here, and her first time performing any of Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons.”

“I’m so honored,” she said, adding that she does get nervous while preparing for a concert. Once on stage, though, “I can sink my teeth into the piece.”

As always, Pasternack will host a brief pre-concert chat at 6:40 p.m., so audience members can ask questions about the evening’s program and about the Port Angeles Symphony.

Those who want to see the orchestra and chorus’ final rehearsal can attend that too: it starts at 10 a.m. Saturday in the high school performing arts center. Admission is $7 per person.

Pasternack has stirred some new flavors into this year’s Holiday Concert: The Chorus from “Von Himmel Hoch,” (“From Heaven on High”) by Felix Mendelssohn; John Rutter’s “What Sweeter Music” and Strauss’ “Tritsch-tratsch Polka.”

Tickets range from $15 for students and seniors and $18 general admission to $25 and $35 for reserved premium seats. As with every concert for the rest of the season, youths 16 and under are admitted free with a paying adult.

General admission tickets are available at Joyful Noise Music Center, 112 W. Washington St., Sequim, and Port Book & News, 104 E. First St., Port Angeles.

Concertgoers can purchase reserved seats by phoning the Symphony office at 360-457-5579. All remaining tickets are sold at the door. Patrons are encouraged to come early for best availability.

For more about the symphony’s 86th season of concerts in Port Angeles and Sequim, visit