Savannah Morning News; DoSavannah
Written By: Linda Sickler

The stage will be full at the Savannah Philharmonic’s Nov. 19 concert at the Lucas Theatre.

“An Evening of Baroque: Handel, Bach & Vivaldi” will feature the Philharmonic Chorus, with solos by soprano Heidi Bindhammer and baritone Russell Watkins.

The concert also will feature the Savannah Children’s Choir and alumni soloists in honor of the choir’s 10th anniversary season. The children’s choir will collaborate with the orchestra to present Vivaldi’s “Gloria.”

“They are very good,” says Savannah Philharmonic artistic director and conductor Peter Shannon. “They are trained to an inch of their lives.”

The children’s choir will perform with the orchestra again in December for the Saturday matinee performance of the Holiday Pops concert. The choir was founded by executive director Roger Moss and chief operating officer Cuffy Sullivan.

About 75 members of the Preparatory and Premier choirs will perform “Gloria.” Singing with the philharmonic is a fun experience for the children, Sullivan says.

“They get to learn the music,” she says. “The ‘Gloria’ is a beautiful piece of music a lot of them won’t encounter again until high school or college.

“They get to work with different conductors. Peter Shannon is helping them work and preparing the kids.

“The kids have already learned the piece,” Sullivan says. “Peter had a few modifications. It’s always thrilling to perform on stage with the philharmonic orchestra.”

“The soloists for the ‘Gloria’ are both alumni of the Savannah Children’s Choir,” Moss says.

Those soloists are Hannah Suddath and Emma Huennekens.

“Hannah was a charter member of the Savannah Children’s Choir,” Sullivan says. “It’s always fun to have kids come back and perform in such meaningful ways as this. It’s wonderful to have these alumna represent the choir so well and share their talents.”

The children learned “Gloria” well in advance.

“We’ve been working on that since summer camp,” Sullivan says.

Bindhammer and Watkins will present Bach’s Cantata No. 192 “Nun danket alle Gott.”

Savannah Philharmonic musicians will be the featured soloists in Marcello’s “Oboe Concerto in C Minor” and Bach’s “Brandenburg Concerto No. 5.” They are Sinisa Ciric on violin, Jeana Melilli on flute and Andrew Jay Ripley on oboe.

The orchestra also will perform Handel’s “Zadok the Priest.”

“For this one, we will have a smaller orchestra than we usually have, but the stage will be full,” Shannon says. “The Brandenburg No. 5 is one that will be very familiar to listeners, and we are looking forward to that.

”We’ll open with Handel’s ‘The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba’ from ‘Solomon.’ I think the variety in this concert is a real attraction.

“‘The Brandenburg Five’ is probably the most virtuosic of the concert,” he says. “A lot of people know about ‘The Brandenburg Five.’”

The choral music is a great addition to the concert, Shannon says.

“It’s always good to have the Savannah Philharmonic Chorus involved,” he says. “We’ve had some rehearsals with the chorus and they’re sounding particularly excellent.”

Baroque music has proven popular with Savannah audiences.

“We don’t get the chance to do a lot of baroque music,” Shannon says. “This gives us a chance to grow together as an ensemble.

“There are times we play Handel, like at the Christmas concert. This gives us the chance to do this music in a more intense environment.

“This is going to be strong music making,” he says. “There’s a broad group that gravitates to baroque music and we’re looking forward to having that audience come.”

Shannon says he’s also looking forward to having so many singers and musicians on stage.

“It’s going to be a lot of different performers,” he says. “That’s always wonderful when you have collaborations.”


What: Savannah Philharmonic’s “An Evening of Baroque: Handel, Bach & Vivaldi”

When: 7:30 p.m. Nov. 19

Where: Lucas Theatre, 32 Abercorn St.

Cost: $16-$75

Info:, 912-525-5050