Choruses, Guest Soloists, and the QSO combine for Grand Finale

The Quincy Symphony Orchestra will present NATURAL WONDERS as the finale to its ENDURING SPIRIT season at 3:00 p.m. Sunday, April 10 in the QJHS Morrison Theater.

The orchestra, led by Dr. Bruce Briney, will perform Beethoven’s beautiful “Symphony No. 6.” This work is one of only two symphonies he deliberately named, preferring titles “Pastoral Symphony” or “Reflections of Country Life”. Beethoven declared the piece to be an expression of nature, reflecting his love for long walks in the countryside near Vienna. The music is filled with colorful sounds, simple folk tunes and a feeling of calm, natural beauty. 

The magnificent cantata “Te Deum” (We Praise Thee, O God) by Antonin Dvorak was commissioned by an American philanthropist in 1891. As a child Dvorak told his parents, “I pray best over there at the window, looking out at the greenery and the sky!” This faith and love of nature colored the music he wrote for “Te Deum” which features an earthiness not usually found in sacred music.

“Te Deum” was written for mixed chorus, orchestra and soloists. The uplifting and joyful music exquisitely blends the voices in flowing melodies and majestic harmonies. The Quincy Symphony Orchestra, Chorus and Youth Chorus will collaborate with choirs from Quincy University and John Wood Community College, creating a 130-voice choir to bring this masterpiece to life. Chorus directors are Kristin Ramseyer (QU), Phyllis Robertson (QSC), Paul Shelor (QAYC) and Steven Soebbing (JWCC).

Soloists Penelope Shumate (soprano) and Ian Greenlaw (baritone) will join the mass choir. Praised by The New York Times for singing with “bell-like clarity and surpassing sweetness,” and complimented by The New York Concert Review for “her sparkling coloratura perfection,” Penelope Shumate’s recent engagements include appearances at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York, and her debut with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London for the CD recording “Messiah Refreshed” at historic Abbey Road Studios.  Ian Greenlaw has performed with opera companies and orchestras on both sides of the Atlantic, including the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Teatro alla Scala, and many others. A gifted concert artist, he has been a soloist with the New York Philharmonic, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and others.  The orchestra, choirs and soloists will join together for the triumphant final chorus of “Alleluja!”

To open the concert and nature theme, the orchestra will debut a newly commissioned overture by Dr. Randall Faust, Macomb. His creation, “The Wonder of the Waters” is a soundtrack to an imaginary canoe trip from Lake Itasca in Northern Minnesota (the headwaters of the Mississippi River- called the “Father of Many Waters” by Native Americans)–down the river eventually arriving in Quincy. During this canoe trip, the audience is led by Dr. Briney across rocky and challenging portages, through stormy and rough waters, to the wider and smoother waters of the river. The river experience–and its expansive river valley, fills listeners with a sense of wonder.

The $1,000 Grand Prize Drawing for the annual QSOA Raffle will be held at the conclusion of the intermission. Raffle proceeds support concerts of the orchestra, chorus, youth orchestra, and youth chorus, as well as the annual in-school symphony concerts for thousands of children. The $1000 grand prize, 2nd prize of a Symphony Getaway Package, and 3rd prize of two QSOA season tickets will be awarded. Raffle tickets are $10 each or 12 for $100 and may be purchased at the concert, in advance from any orchestra, chorus, Encore! or Symphony Board member, or by visiting the website at The raffle is sponsored by HomeBank and Cape Air.

Concert tickets will be available at the door or in advance from Sturhahn Jewelers, County Market, or Hy-Vee. Tickets are $15 for seniors and $18 for other adults. Thanks in part to support from the Tracy Family Foundation and the Community Foundation, children 18 and under are admitted free to all QSO concerts. The Concert Sponsor is Mercantile Bank, Music Sponsor is Schmiedeskamp, Robertson, Neu & Mitchell, Media Sponsor is WGEM.  The Arthur & Lela Lindsay Family is the Guest Artist Sponsor. All QSOA concerts are partially supported by the Illinois Arts Council Agency and season sponsors Knapheide Manufacturing and Blessing Health System.