Finale Concert Features Local Legends

The Quincy Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, under the direction of Dr. Bruce Briney, will present the QSO Legends Concert as the finale to its Global Discoveries season at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 12 in the QJHS Morrison Theater. This concert aims to honor members of the QSO family tree.

The orchestra will begin with a special tribute overture, “Song of the Harp.” This newly commissioned piece, written by former QSO conductor Thom Ritter George honors George Irwin, who founded the QSO in 1947.

During the concert, the Sarama Schnack Endowed Chair will be dedicated. For many years Mrs. Schnack was the principal harpist for the QSO and a local harp instructor. She was also a longtime member of Encore! Symphony Volunteer Council.

To honor this special occasion, harpist and former Quincyan Claire Happel will perform Debussy’s “Danses Sacree et Profane for Harp & String” which is influenced by Spanish dance and melodic embellishment. Happel says she is “ever grateful to her first teacher, Sarama Schnack, for guiding her from her first notes on the harp to the masterworks of Händel, Fauré, and others.”

Active as a chamber and orchestral harpist, Happel has performed at the Rudolfinum in Prague, Symphony Center in Chicago, Carnegie Hall in New York, and Jordan Hall in Boston. She has appeared as a soloist with the University of Illinois Philharmonia and the Quincy Symphony Orchestra. As an orchestral harpist, she has played with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, Civic Orchestra of Chicago, and many regional orchestras in North Carolina, Indiana, Illinois and Iowa. She holds degrees from the University of Illinois and Yale University, and received a Fulbright Grant to the Czech Republic.

Eighty female voices from the Quincy Symphony Chorus and Concert Choir join the orchestra for Camille Saint-Saens’ “La Nuit.” Soprano Nicole Robertson is the featured soloist on this beautiful piece which celebrates the changes that evening brings to nature, and to the hearts of lovers. Robertson is an active opera and jazz singer throughout the United States, having also performed in England, Scotland, Ireland, Italy, Germany, Austria, and New Zealand. Solo work includes guest performances with the Quincy Symphony Chorus, the Fort Dodge Symphony, the Doc Wagner band of Oklahoma, and the Kirksville (Mo.) Symphony. Holding a master’s degree in Choral Conducting from Truman State University, she is currently working on her doctorate in voice at The University of Oklahoma.

The concert repertoire also includes two compositions by Maurice Ravel: “Mother Goose Suite” and “Bolero” as well as Jacques Offenbach’s “Orpheus in the Underworld.”

The $1,000 Grand Prize Drawing for the 9th Annual QSOA Raffle will be held at the conclusion of the intermission. Raffle proceeds support the many programs of the QSOA, including the in-school symphony concerts for over 3500 students. The grand prize of $1,000 cash, second place prize of two Cape Air round trip tickets and third place prize of two QSOA season tickets will be awarded. Raffle tickets are on sale for $10 each or 12/$100, and may be purchased at the concert, in advance from any orchestra, chorus, Encore! or Symphony Board member, or by calling the Symphony office at 222-2856 or visiting the website at

Concert tickets will be available at the door or may be purchased in advance at Quincy Hy-Vee stores, Sturhahn Jewelers or the Symphony Office at 200 N. 8th St. Tickets are $12 for seniors and $15 for other adults. Thanks in part to support from the Tracy Family Foundation, children 18 and under are admitted free to all QSO concerts. Students, faculty and staff of John Wood Community College, Quincy University, Western Illinois University, Truman State and Culver-Stockton College are admitted free by showing their school identification.

The Golden Baton Season Sponsors are the Knapheide Manufacturing Company and Blessing Health System. The concert is made possible in part by Concert Sponsor Mercantile Bank, Guest Artist Sponsor AA Dental, Media Sponsor WGEM, Music Sponsor Gardner Denver, the Illinois Arts Council Agency through the National Endowment for the Arts and the Marion Gardner Jackson Charitable Trust.