The Union Recorder

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December 10, 2013

CURTAIN CALL: GMC Steinway Concert Series a must-see

MILLEDGEVILLE — “Good King Wenceslas looked out, on the feast of Stephen, When the snow lay round about, deep and crisp and even.”

Well, I hope you had a chance to check out a musical or theatrical event the past week. There was a lot of “stuff” happening.  But it's not over yet.

This Sunday, Dec. 15, the Georgia Military College Steinway Concert Series presents Emile Pandolfi, with guest artist Dana Russell, performing a program of holiday favorites. The concert starts at 3 p.m. in the Goldstein Center for the Performing Arts.

Emile Pandolfi began his musical training at the age of 5 at the Third Street Music School Settlement in Manhattan, the oldest community music school in the country.

He made his orchestral debut at 14, playing a Mozart concerto with the Greenville, S.C. Symphony Orchestra.  He eventually earned his graduate degree in piano performance.    

Over the ensuing years, he traveled to the U.S. Virgin Islands, England, Denver, and finally to Los Angeles. There he played piano at the Comedy Store in the early 1980s and, while watching such up and coming comedians as Robin Williams and Jerry Seinfeld, learned a sense of comic timing that remains in his concert performances.

He also developed a love of “sleight of hand” magic at that time. We'll have to see if he asks anyone in the audience to “pick a card, any card” during the Sunday concert.

By the late 1980s Emile had returned to South Carolina and continued to play clubs, concerts, etc. He started recording in the 1990s and his recordings have been top sellers over the past couple of decades.

One review I particularly liked said “his styles range from Rachmaninoff to Dolly Parton.”  That's a pretty wide range!

Dana Russell will be singing with Emile on Sunday and has been working with him in concert since August 2010. She has a great voice that just seems suited for his piano style.

The fact that they both come from Italian backgrounds also seems to add a little spice to the musical mixture.    

The program Sunday will feature both sacred and secular holiday songs. Some of the promised tunes include the aforementioned “Good King Wenceslas,” along with “Once upon a December,” “O Come All Ye Faithful,” “Winter Wonderland,” “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” “Do You Hear What I Hear,” and “Joy to the World.”

And, of course, there are others as well.

The Steinway Concert Series has been bringing some really outstanding music to Milledgeville over the past few years and this looks to be no exception.

Tickets are $10 general admission and $5 for students. You can call the GMC Advancement office at 478-445-0202 for more information or to reserve tickets in advance.

Now, to help you get even more into the seasonal mood, you may want to make a trip over to the Old Governor's Mansion the Saturday night before the Panolfi/Russell concert. Special candlelight tours will be offered at 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. Dec. 14.

The mansion is always decorated to the hilt for the Christmas season and seeing it by candlelight is really a great experience.

In addition, musical entertainment is promised from various local groups. I believe the Milledgeville Singers Guild is supposed to be on tap for this coming Saturday. But the Sweet Georgia Sound and the First Baptist Church Handbell Choir are also scheduled for the various nights of the candlelight tours. Regardless, it's a beautiful way to get into the holiday spirit and you can figure there will be music of some sort taking place.

Tickets are $10. For more information, give a call to 478-445-4545.

Speaking of mansion tours, Lockerly Hall will be decorated for the holidays by Milledgeville's four garden clubs. Holiday tours will be available Dec. 16-18, but you need to make a reservation. Admission is $5. Give a call to 478-452-2112 for more information or to make a reservation.

“Good King Wenceslas” tells the story of a king (alright, if you're going to get picky about it, he was only a duke in reality) who braved harsh winter weather to give alms to a peasant on the Feast of Stephen - the day after Christmas.

During the journey, his page is about to give up the struggle against the cold when he is encouraged to follow behind in Wenceslas' footprints, promising they would keep him warm. And just like a little old Christmas miracle, they do.    

“Brightly shown the moon that night, though the frost was cruel, When a poor man came in sight, gathering winter fuel.”    

Catch you on the flip side.

Contact Tom Toney at ttoney@unionrecorder.com

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