McLean Symphony’s Seasonal Magic

McLean Symphony’s Seasonal Magic

Holiday family concert to be held on Sunday, Dec. 18 at 3 p.m. at the Alden Theatre.

Maestro Dingwall Fleary conducting McLean Symphony.

Maestro Dingwall Fleary conducting McLean Symphony. Photo by James Dullea


The McLean Symphony will perform its annual concert, “Seasonal Magic: A Family Concert for All” on Sunday, Dec. 18 at 3 p.m. at the Alden Theatre.

With a full season ahead of them, the McLean Symphony, now in it’s 45th year, kicks off the holidays with a holiday family concert on Dec. 18 at 3 p.m. at the Alden Theatre.

Songs and carols about the holidays including works by Mykola Leontovych, Antonio Vivaldi, Gian-Carlo Menotti, and Adolphe Adam will be performed by the 61 members, all local volunteers for their annual concert, “Seasonal Magic: A Family Concert for All.” The chamber orchestra, which was founded in 1971 under the direction of its founder, Maestro Dingwall Fleary, will offer the opportunity for a sing-along during their concert at the McLean Community Center, the symphony’s last performance at the center before it shuts down for renovations.

“I want everyone to leave this concert feeling a lot of the holiday spirit,” said Maestro Dingwall Fleary, who has been the Maestro since the symphony’s inception and has been dedicated to providing good music at affordable prices to area residents.

“The concert is for families. The fun part is when we play a lot of the popular songs and invite the audience to sing-along,” he said. Fleary says that working with the symphony is a “collective cooperative,” in which he consults principal players for feedback on program questions, giving each of them a chance to give their input. The camaraderie among the members, who at their most complete are 70 members and range in ages 20s to 84, “is a great feeling,” said Fleary.

The 45th season is titled “A Sapphire Celebration” because the music chosen is a reflection of the gemstone it is named after, “brilliant and precious,” according to the symphony’s press release.

Guest vocalists include Soprano Karin Paludan, a Metropolitan Opera National Council Regional Award winner from McLean, and Baritone Bryan Jackson, who has made a series of principal debuts at the Washington National Opera, among others.

“I strongly encourage” locals and young artists, says Fleary who recognizes the importance of fostering a love of music in young people. “I embrace having them to come and play with us.”

Usually, the symphony presents music of winners of an annual composition festival sponsored by the Northern Virginia Music Teachers Association. The students get to hear their works performed by the symphony in concert after being professionally orchestrated.

Jeanne T. Faubell, who has been playing violin with the symphony since 1997, says that working with a conductor on Dingwall Fleary's level is a privilege.

“He is a wonderful coach and instructor, with a warm, funny personality, and I have learned so much about orchestral playing and music generally from playing under his tutelage,” said Faubell. “This season, I’m particularly looking forward to performing in different kinds of venues, which allow us to perform with a large church choir and with organ soloists, for a wider range of music than the Alden location makes possible. We are doing some exciting music this season.”

Erika Shuster, 76, a Mclean resident who attends the symphony’s annual holiday concert looks forward to the sing-alongs and says the performances are “so good.”

On Feb. 18 there will be a youth-oriented concert to be held at the Montessori School of McLean. The program will include compositions by area youth in association with the Northern Virginia Music Teachers Association.

For more information on the symphony, visit or call 866-811-4111. Tickets for the Dec. 18 event are as follows: students, $15; adults, $25; seniors, $20; children 12 and under are free.