While we hate to admit it, when it comes to the arts, events can be few and far in between here on the Eastern Shore. Luckily, twe have a collection of organizations that give us the opportunity to see unique talent while enjoying arts and culture without traveling over the bridge. One of these organizations if the Mid-Atlantic Symphony Organization (MSO), located here on Delmarva with shows held across the Eastern Shore of Maryland and lower Delaware. The concept for the orchestra began in 1995 when a group of Eastern Shore residents headed by Constance Meadows approached Don Buxton after a concert he was conducting in Delaware. The subject under discussion was an orchestra to be based in the Delmarva region. To implement this idea, a volunteer board was organized whose responsibility was to launch and support the orchestra. After a lot of hard work and planning, the MSO was finally brought to life in 1997, with the mission “to enrich life in the Mid-Atlantic region through the power of live classical music.” The first concert took place at the Ocean City Convention Center in November of 1997, under Donald C. Buxton.

The orchestra was conducted under Maestro Buxton until June 2005, when a guest conductor was brought in for the season finale in April of 2005. His name was Julien Benichou, a native of France who brought an un-paralleled experience to the podium. After Buxton retired, Benichou was named MSO’s Music Director in September of 2005. He had grown up in the French countryside, and had long dreamed of conducting an orchestra in small communities which would allow for a more intimate contact with the audience. Maestro Benichou resides in Baltimore for most of the year, but during the MSO season, he travels four to five times to Easton, MD to perform on Thursday evenings. On Saturdays they come to Ocean View, DE to perform an evening concert, followed by an afternoon concert in Ocean Pines before heading back over the bridge.

For the holiday season, the Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra is introducing this season’s performance, Holiday Joy. Their holiday concert involves orchestral and vocal music including traditional seasonal favorites from around the globe. The MSO will usher in the holiday season with this exciting program blending seasonal favorites, deeply stirring holiday melodies, and orchestral interludes featuring soprano Jane Hardenbergh, baritone Kevin Short and two talented vocalists from the University of Miami, Frost School of Music, soprano Mia Rojas and mezzo-soprano Zaray Rodriguez.

Holiday Joy Concert on the Shore Dates:

December 4th, Avalon Theater in Easton

December 5th, Mariner’s Bethel Church

December 6th, Cape Henlopen High School

December 7th, Community Church, Ocean Pines… 2 showings.

We encourage you to donate to this important organization that provides the youth on Delmarva with a unique look at music and what it can do. As with most non-profit performing arts organizations, ticket sales cover only a fraction of the MSO’s annual operating budget. Your donation goes to bringing Baltimore based musicians to Delmarva, music rentals, rental of rehearsal and performance space, printing of season brochures, advertising and marketing, website support, insurance and more. The MSO relies on the tremendous support of people who love music and recognize that the presence of live symphonic music enriches the quality of life for any community. To bring more music awareness to our youth, concert tickets are offered free for youths 18 years and under with a reservation. Tickets for this season’s Holiday Joy concert are $45 for adults.