Sunday: Concert features two tales and two orchestras

The Greater Bridgeport Youth Orchestras (GBYO) and Greater Bridgeport Symphony (GBS) will perform together for the first time in decades in January.

The combined concert, titled “Amahl & Peter: A Family Affair,” will take place Sunday, Jan. 12 at 3 p.m. at Klein Memorial Auditorium, 910 Fairfield Ave., Bridgeport.

The family-oriented performance, under the baton of Christopher Hisey, will include “Amahl and the Night Visitors,” “Peter and the Wolf” and “Farandole.”

“This is a unique opportunity for the kids to perform with professional musicians and singers,” said former GBYO President Mark R. Halstead. “Quite a few GBS musicians are teachers of GBYO students, and they will now share the stage at the Klein.”

Seasonal and classical music

“Amahl” is a one-act opera, in English, written by Giancarlo Menotti in 1951, which tells the story of the visit of the Three Kings to Bethlehem.

“Peter and the Wolf” is a classic musical tale for children by Sergei Prokofiev.

“Farandole,” written by 19th-century French composer Georges Bizet, is the basis for the Christmas classic “This Great Day.”

“This concert is ideal family entertainment — cultural, educational and fun,” said Jim O’Donnell, Klein Memorial Foundation president. “It’s a great way of introducing the young, and young at heart, to the wonderful way that music can be used to tell a story.”

Orin Grossman will speak on “Music and the Young Mind” preceding the concert at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $45, $35, $25 and $15, and available at or by calling the GBS box office at 203-576-0263.

All proceeds will benefit GBS, GBYO and the Klein Memorial Foundation, three of the greater Bridgeport region’s cultural cornerstones.

Opera singers to perform

The GBYO will perform “Amahl and the Night Visitors,” featuring opera singers Richard Owen III (boy soprano), Christina Holms (soprano), William Hall (tenor), Edward Pleasant (baritone), and Brad Walker (bass-baritone) in the first act.

In the second act, the GBS will present “Peter and the Wolf” narrated by Stephan Stout, followed by a side-by-side performance of “Farandole” from “L’Arlesienne No. 2.”

About the two orchestras

Since 1940, the GBS has performed at the Klein. The GBYO was established in 1961 as an offshoot of the GBS to encourage and nurture young musicians in symphonic music. The two organizations became independent entities in 1991.

The GBS is currently showcasing five potential successors to longtime conductor Gustav Meier, who retired last spring after 41 seasons.

The GBYO has grown to include six ensembles with more than 250 members in the 4th to 12th grades from nearly 30 area towns.