WHITMAN — The Southeastern Philharmonic Orchestra comes home to Whitman Town Hall auditorium to perform a free pops concert in celebration of its centennial at 2:30 p.m., Sunday, May 10 — Mother’s Day.
Conductor Robert C. Babb said the concert is the perfect gift for mom, an afternoon of music and family.
“It’s going to be a great opportunity for people to treat their mothers to something special and make it a very special Mother’s Day,” Babb said. “It’s going to be a pops-type of concert. A lot of the music comes from around the time the orchestra started.”
Irving Berlin tunes will be included in the repertoire as he was “incredibly popular with the songs he was writing at that time,” Babb said, adding that Gustav Holst’s “The Planets,” composed in 1914, will also be featured as well as other favorites the orchestra continues to play.
Now based in Weymouth for about four years, the SPO was founded in Whitman by Frank Burnett and Dr. John Coughlin in 1915 as the Whitman Orchestral Club and rehearsed as well as performed in the Town Hall auditorium. Having performed concerts for every year since its inception, the SPO is the oldest continuing community orchestra in the nation, according to the SPO website. Its purpose remains to provide fun and experience for amateur musicians of all ages and levels of accomplishment.
“I’ve been there a couple of times and the sound just bounces off the walls,” Babb said of the venue. “The acoustics are incredible.”
This is Babb’s 36th season with the SPO, which boasts musicians ranging in age from 15 to 90. Many of the musicians have been SPO members for decades
“Right now we have musicians from all over the South Shore,” Babb said. That 55-musician roster includes Whitman resident and violinist Sheila Kinch.
Sunday’s concert is supported in part by a grant from the Whitman Cultural Council, a local ageny supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council.
— Tracy F. Seelye