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Chicago Philharmonic's Holiday Side By Side Meets Zoom

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Side by Side with Chicago Philharmonic's holiday tradition comes to Zoom!

Chicago Philharmonic in collaboration with Chicago Park District and Mayor Lori Lightfoot's Night Out In The Parks take Side by Side with Chicago Philharmonic's holiday tradition to Zoom!

Chicago Philharmonic is not alone when it comes to changing its yuletide festivities this winter. Thankfully, the Philharmonic is well-versed in virtual events as it has quickly adapted its 31st season to be live-streamed concert events in its "Hear it Together" fall series. In fact, this summer's Side by Side virtual events worked as a pilot program to their now developed fall series giving the administration ideas on how to keep bringing music to its loyal patrons during this challenging pandemic.

Each year the Chicago Philharmonic presents free concerts in Chicago parks, inviting community members and students to join us in playing along with our orchestra. This year, being respectful of social distancing measures, the organization has worked on a virtual adaption of the popular program via Zoom! This will be the third installment of the event in its new form as summer brought e-versions on June 21st and August 9th, which have all been led by Artistic Director and Principal Conductor, Scott Speck.

The essence of Side by Side with Chicago Philharmonic remains intact as students and community musicians across Chicago are invited to participate in the orchestra learning and playing alongside the Philharmonic's world-class musicians. The successful format includes a live conductor-led rehearsal by Maestro Scott Speck with pre-recorded music, followed by live sectional break out groups facilitated by Chicago Philharmonic musicians, culminating in a final run-through that each participant records on their personal device and sends to the Chicago Philharmonic to create one composite performance to be shared. Participants will also have the opportunity to ask questions to Speck in a live Q&A section.

Student and community musicians who register to play, many of whom are Side by Side regulars, will enjoy a holiday-theme lineup. Coleridge-Taylor's Christmas Overture begins the program with its recognizable Christmas carols entwined together like God rest you merry gentlemen, Good King Wenceslas, and Hark the herald angels sing. Then we are taken to the whimsical and joyful tones of March from Tschaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite. An early Catalan carol Riu Riu Chiu that dates back to the 16th century is next. Then we take a trip on Anderson's Sleigh Ride before ending the experience with Strauss, Sr.'s rousing Radetzky March.

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