New Year's Eve With Seattle Symphony

Used to be that programming New Year’s Eve orchestra concerts was a no-brainer: Just blow the dust off the Strauss family scores and oom-pah-pah your way through an evening of champagne music. But Gerard Schwarz likes to give the Seattle Symphony something meatier (though still Viennese) on these gala occasions—like Beethoven’s Ninth. Like all 75 minutes of it. If the turn of the year is a stock-taking, resolution-making time for you, Friedrich Schiller’s paean to universal brotherhood, the “Ode to Joy,” which Beethoven set as the symphony’s choral finale, will make an inspiring message. (And in light of the inauguration three weeks later, it’ll ring a little less hollow this time.) That’s the concert’s entrée; dessert comes after intermission with the Seattle Seahawks Blue Thunder drumline, 33 strong, playing on their own and joining the SSO for rousing pieces by Ginastera, Sousa, and Johann Strauss Sr. After the concert, stay for champagne, dancing, dessert (non-metaphorical), and cheering and kissing at midnight, if you like. GAVIN BORCHERT

Wed., Dec. 31, 7:15 & 9 p.m., 2008

 
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