Friday, December 15, 2017
Tampa Bay Music & Shows

Conductor, soloist reunite for Hernando Symphony's holiday concerts

SPRING HILL — Morgan Burburan has known Wayne Raymond since she was an intern seven years ago at West Hernando Middle School.

Raymond was the school's band director and her supervising teacher. When Burburan was hired as the school's chorus teacher, Raymond served as her mentor.

But their working relationship did not end there.

Over the next several years, the two worked together in various musical productions, including several Stage West shows, such as 1776 (in which Burburan won a HAMI Award for her role as Martha Jefferson and Raymond for his role as John Adams) and Meshuggah-Nuns! The Ecumenical Nunsense, which Raymond directed and in which Burburan performed as Sister Mary Hubert.

While Raymond is now retired from teaching, and Burburan has moved on to become the director of choirs and musical theater at Weeki Wachee High School, the two are collaborating again.

Burburan will lend her soprano voice as the Hernando Symphony Orchestra performs its "Holiday Sounds" concerts this weekend at Stage West Community Playhouse.

"Morgan has a beautiful voice," said Raymond, the orchestra's conductor. "It is so nice to have her singing with us."

Burburan will sing favorites such as White Christmas, Gesu Bambino, Do You Hear What I Hear and Somewhere in My Memory.

While Burburan has sung with the orchestra in the past, this will be her first time as the lone vocalist.

"It's exciting," she admitted. "It really is an honor."

Burburan said singing with the orchestra is different than performing with piano accompaniment. When she sings Gesu Babino with the orchestra, the result is wonderful, she said.

"It is just a beautiful piece," she said. "It is so pretty."

The orchestra will also perform holiday favorites such as Gloria, Festive Sounds of Hanukkah, The Polar Express, O Holy Night and Christmas Lullaby. Raymond said the performance of Tintinabulations will be a special treat for the audience.

"It is Jingle Bells done in a lot of different styles," including Beethoven and swing sounds, the conductor said. "It's a real interesting piece."

Raymond also said Russian Christmas Music is something he anticipates the audience will enjoy.

"It is a real heavy piece," he said. "These are very different, and are not recognizable carols."

Keeping with tradition, the holiday concert will include a sing-along near the end of the performance.

Raymond said the orchestra, which has about 45 musicians, is sounding good.

"I'm lucky to have so many wonderful musicians in the area (who are part of the orchestra)," he said. "We have some strong principle players who are stable, which helps a lot."

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