December is an unusual month in the KSO's season. Other months of the season are predictable concert-wise. We have a Masterworks concert and then usually a Chamber or Pops concert along with a smattering of community outreach performances by small ensembles. In December, we turn away from our usual schedule of classical music and direct our attention to the upcoming winter holidays. Even though we don't perform concerts in our usual series, we manage to keep plenty busy. Last week we performed a holiday concert at Lincoln Memorial University. This past weekend we performed the Nutcracker with the Appalachian Ballet Company. On Thursday we will perform a holiday concert in Morristown. Next week we will begin rehearsals for the Clayton Holiday Concert. There are also small ensembles from the symphony that are doing special outreach performances at area businesses and hospitals.
While the music we play for our holiday programs is not as technically difficult as our usual fare, I actually think December is one of the most challenging months in our season because everything gets turned on it's head. In other months we tend to have the luxury of having rehearsals for one or two programs at a time which are followed closely by performances. In December this is not always the case. For example, last week we rehearsed the Nutcracker on Tuesday and Wednesday and then performed it Saturday and Sunday. In between the rehearsals and performances of the Nutcracker we had a rehearsal for our runout concerts which we performed last Thursday at Lincoln Memorial University and will perform again this coming Thursday in Morristown. In the midst of those programs, the quartets have had recent performances at Oak Ridge National Lab, First Friday at the Emporium Building, and other area businesses and hospitals.
The time lapse between rehearsals and performances is not a big issue musically, it's just different than our usual schedule and requires a different mindset. December is about keeping all the balls in the air without dropping any.