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Courtesy photo from Jed Fritzemeier. Arie Lipsky instructing CHS Symphony Orchestra in Chelsea.

Courtesy photo from Jed Fritzemeier. Arie Lipsky instructing CHS Symphony Orchestra in Chelsea.

By Crystal Hayduk

The Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra (A2SO) will be performing in the Chelsea High School (CHS) Auditorium under the direction of the world-renowned Arie Lipsky in what promises to be an “incomparable cultural opportunity” for the community, according to Jed Fritzemeier, CHS orchestra director.

“Working with the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra may be the biggest project I’ve done so far in my teaching career,” said Fritzemeier of his 31 years teaching music – 25 in the Chelsea School District.

Maintaining the culture of the great masters in Chelsea and helping his students to “thoroughly understand what the music can communicate through hearing a live performance with resonance and power – the way it is supposed to sound,” is one of his two-part goals for the community and the orchestra program.

The time is right for the partnership. Under Fritzemeier’s direction, the orchestra program has grown from 53 students in sixth through 12th grade to 320 students in fifth through 12th grade – 106 at the high school level.

“Our numbers are up; our quality is up. The Chelsea orchestras are recognized throughout the state for excellence … The orchestra program has established itself as a part of the cultural landscape of the school and community,” he said.

The concert on Nov. 20 will consist of late 19th century music by Russian composers, including Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, and Borodin. An intermission will divide performances by the CHS Symphony Orchestra and the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra.

Mary Steffek Blaske, executive director of the A2SO, said that a concert with Fritzemeier, Nathan Peters (assistant director), and the CHS Orchestra has been a “mutual goal … for quite some time and we are happy to make it a reality.”

In advance of the big event, principal musicians from A2SO work with students to help them prepare for the students’ portion of the concert. Lipsky also works with CHS students, conducting them and enriching their musical education with his vast experience.

“We are proud to supplement and support Jed and Nathan’s work and to provide the Chelsea students the experience of working with professional symphony orchestra musicians,” said Blaske.

A grant from the Chelsea Foundation is partially supporting the alliance between CHS and A2SO, along with other individual sponsors. More funds are needed to cover this year’s cost and a similar concert next year in which the two orchestras will share the stage simultaneously. Donors can receive tickets to the concert as well as name recognition in the program.

For more information about becoming a sponsor, please contact Jed Fritzemeier at jfritzemeier@chelsea.k12.mi.us.

“I’m proud of my (CHS) orchestra – it’s a pretty good orchestra,” said Fritzemeier. “But there’s a gigantic difference from the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra.

“We’re going to put forth our best effort to play major pieces of music. Then you’re going to hear people who have dedicated their lives to it, who practice six hours a day and it’s a totally different level. Both Nathan [Peters] and I are in that mindset. We practiced five to six hours a day through college for years. It’s a totally different understanding of what music is. You can’t explain it. You can only listen to it and say, ‘Oh, that’s what it’s supposed to sound like.’”

Quick Facts 

What: Classical music concert collaboration of Chelsea High School Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Jed Fritzemeier, “back-to-back” with the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Arie Lipsky.

When: Sunday, Nov. 20 at 3 p.m.

Where: Chelsea High School Auditorium, 740 North Freer Road

Tickets: $12/adults, $8/seniors and students; reserved seats; tickets available in advance at Chelsea Pharmacy, 1125 South Main Street, or at the door.

About Arie Lipsky: Read more at http://www.a2so.com/conductor-arie-lipsky/.

About the A2SO: The Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra has been independently and favorably compared to musical giants such as the Leipzig Gewandhaus, the Boston Symphony and the Detroit Symphony Orchestras.

The A2SO is a versatile orchestra, performing the gamut of musical styles: from Beethoven to Daugherty. It is equally at home in giving shining performances of the revered Russian Masters as it is to the newly minted commissions.

A2SO concerts frequently feature world-class guest soloists including opening this season with André Watts here in Hill Auditorium. Our symphony is most privileged to be part of a community already enriched with musical talent including Concertmaster Aaron Berofsky and Principal Oboist Tim Michling, Principal Cellist Sarah Cleveland, and Principal Bassoonist Christian Green.

The A2SO is passionately committed to lead and enrich the culture of the region. We attract, inspire and educate the most diverse audience possible, foster a growing appreciation for orchestral music and regional talent, and provide imaginative programming through community involvement.

Courtesy photo. Primor Sluchin watching Arie Lipsky for syncopated entrance.

Courtesy photo. Primor Sluchin watching Arie Lipsky for syncopated entrance.

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