The most popular event on the Jackson Symphony Orchestra calendar is right around the corner. And for those who have made an annual holiday tradition of seeing the JSO and Ballet Chelsea team up for The Nutcracker, this year’s production will provide a bit of something new.
This will mark the sixth year the Jackson Symphony Orchestra and Ballet Chelsea have teamed up to present The Nutcracker and the 26th time Ballet Chelsea has performed it, but it will be the first with Ballet Chelsea’s new Artistic Director Michelle Quenon at the helm.
“I think she’s going to put her stamp on it a little bit, and I’m excited for that,” JSO Music Director Matthew Aubin said. “She’s doing something a little bit different this year. She’s reordering where the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy goes, which is something that a lot of ballet companies do. This performance is a nice, feel-good event that we do every year. I just love the way our community supports The Nutcracker.”
Aubin said the symphony sold about 4,000 tickets for The Nutcracker last year, but the Potter Center has the capacity for even more, so there is plenty of room for growth.
“We view this as a tradition,” Aubin said. “Hopefully parents, grandparents, children can all grow up including this as part of their holiday plans.”
Aubin recalled a recent conversation with a musician about the familiarity of the music.
“He said, ‘I think I’ve played the Nutcracker 2,000 times,’” Aubin recalled. “And he said, ‘I’m not sick of it. It’s great music. I love it.’ That’s about as good a testament as anything.”
That familiarity and the fact that there are four performances provide Aubin and the symphony’s musicians with a bit of freedom as well.
“The hard parts are still hard and all that,” Aubin said. “But because we’ve done it so much we can play a little bit in each performance. We can put our own little individual stamps on it. There’s one place where the flutes slow down and nothing’s happening from a dance standpoint, so they can really overindulge it if they want. Sometimes they do that almost to mess with me, to see if I’ll be able to hang with them. It’s stuff like that that I think is fun.”
There are four shows to choose from, all at the Potter Center on the campus of Jackson College: 7 p.m. Dec. 15th, 2 p.m. Dec. 16th, 7 p.m. Dec. 16th and 2 p.m. Dec. 17th. Tickets range from $10 to $30 and are available online jacksonsymphony.org, by phone at (517) 782-3221 or in person at the JSO box office located at 215 West Michigan Avenue in downtown Jackson.
Tickets to the Sugar Plum Tea, to be held at the Potter Center at noon Dec. 16 and Dec. 17, are $35. The Sugar Plum Tea is a catered tea party with a character meet and greet, fun crafts, treats from the “Land of the Sweets,” professional photos and more. Space is limited.
• Cost: $10 to $30
• Get tickets online
• By phone: (517) 782-3221
• In person: At the JSO box office (215 W. Michigan Ave. in Jackson)