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Santa Barbara Symphony to Ring In New Year With Gershwin

The New Year's Eve concert will get the countdown started — with time left over to celebrate elsewhere.

Spending some of New Year’s Eve at the Santa Barbara Symphony concert, initiated during the Kojian era, seems by far the most civilized way to observe the event.

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Conductor Richard Kaufman will take the podium for his fifth New Year’s Eve with the Santa Barbara Symphony.
The music is charming and undemanding; the performances are first-rate; the audience is friendly and trusting; and it concludes in plenty of time to go on to either a wild, primitive New Year’s Eve party or home to bed at a reasonable hour. One carries along wherever one is bound both the warmth and good feeling of the symphony gathering and a good deal less anxiety.

This year’s concert at the Granada, conducted by longtime favorite Richard Kaufman, features a generous selection of the music of George Gershwin. It starts with the overtures to Gershwin’s shows Strike Up the Band and Girl Crazy.

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Lisa Vroman will serenade the audience into 2009 with George Gershwin songs.
Lisa Vroman, star of Broadway and concert hall, will sing It Ain’t Necessarily So, By Strauss, I Got Rhythm, Someone to Watch Over Me, Isn’t It a Pity and They All Laughed — all with music by Gershwin and lyrics by his brother Ira.

After the intermission, Vroman will sing Irving Berlin‘s Blue Skies, Gershwin’s Foggy Day and Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off, Stephen Sondheim‘s The Glamorous Life from A Little Night Music, and Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again from her role as Christine in Andrew Lloyd Webber‘s Phantom of the Opera.

Also on the program, the symphony’s new concertmaster, Caroline Campbell, will play the solo part in Vittorio Monti‘s dazzling, gypsy-flavored Czardas.

Special guest conductor William Calise Jr. will lead the symphony in the immortal Can Can from Jacques Offenbach‘s Orpheus in the Underworld (Calise won the privilege in the live auction at the symphony’s annual fundraiser).

Festive hats and noisemakers are free for the audience, as supplies allow.

The symphony’s New Year’s Eve concert will be from 8:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Wednesday. Tickets are $35, $50 and $75 (premium box seating is $100) and are on sale at the Granada box office, 1214 State St., or click here or call 805.899.2222.

Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributor.

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