Disclaimer: While I was given two tickets to this concert free of charge, my review of the experience is completely voluntary and my thoughts on the event are entirely my own. I was gifted these tickets and was not required to create any content in exchange for them.
When I received an invitation from the Concord Chamber Orchestra to attend their upcoming holiday concert, it was an easy decision to respond with an emphatic “Yes!” Not only had I not attended an orchestra concert since visiting the MSO with my orchestra class back in high school, but I also had never gotten the chance to visit the concert’s iconic location, the Basilica of St. Josaphat on Milwaukee’s south side. I could not be more grateful for the opportunity I was given to experience both! Here’s what you need to know about the Concord Chamber Orchestra:
- The group has been in existence since 1975
- Their current director has served since 2004
- All members of the group are dedicated VOLUNTEERS!
As someone who pursues competitive athletics and a blog on top of a full-time job, I like to think I have some idea about the kind of dedication it takes to have a side hustle… but mastering the entire repertoire for this concert?! I can only imagine the time and effort invested to make this incredible event (much less their other concerts throughout the year) possible!
The musicians were set in the foreground of the beautiful (and beautifully decorated) shrine at the front of the sanctuary. The concert began with some more classic pieces, which represented the “sacred” part of the concert’s “Sacred & Secular” title. I especially appreciated the diversity in the last piece of the opening half, a three-movement selection by Ottorino Respighi entitled Trittico botticelliano (Three Botticelli Pictures). Like its name states, each of the three movements is based on a different classic painting by Sandro Botticelli.
After a 15-minute intermission, we were treated to some more familiar Christmas tunes, including Adolphe Adam’s rendition of O Holy Night and Gloria Shayne Baker’s Do You Hear What I Hear? Since we were in a basilica, it was only fitting to stand up for a high-energy round of Hallelujah as well! The concert finished off fun and strong with a sing-along compilation by Leroy Anderson called Christmas Festival.
I highly recommend checking out the CCO if you are looking to diversify your Milwaukee performance arts repertoire. Their next concert, Large & Small, takes place on January 27th. If you are interested in becoming involved as a performer with the CCO, you can reach out to their music director, Jamin Hoffman, for audition information.
The Basilica is also open to visitors on Mondays – Saturdays from 9:00 – 4:00. Tours also take place every Sunday following the 10:00 mass.