Why Not Go Out for New Year's Eve-Eve?! CityCentre Concert Offers Songs for Celebration from Around the World

Why Not Go Out for New Year's Eve-Eve?! CityCentre Concert Offers Songs for Celebration from Around the World

ECHO's New Year's Eve celebration, 2021 (photo by Friedhelm Luening)

ON DEC. 30, the Energy Corridor of Houston Orchestra (ECHO) celebrates New Year’s Eve a day early at the CityCentre-area Queensbury Theatre, with an entertaining concert titled “New Year’s Around The World.”

Led by ECHO music director and conductor Michael Fahey, the diverse program includes Strauss waltzes; songs from Venezuela, featuring violinist Eddy Marcano and flautist Katherine Fuentes; Vivaldi’s violin concerto “Winter” from The Four Seasons, with soloist Ellen Seok, a finalist in ECHO’s Young Artist Concerto competition; and a selection of Broadway numbers from Camelot, Porgy and Bess, and Showboat sung by Houston bass-baritone Leon Turner. The concert wraps up with a sing-along of “Auld Lang Syne,” followed by a Champagne reception with food, wine and the opportunity for the audience to meet members of the orchestra.

Fahey, who relocated from New York to Houston in 1991 to teach music full-time, co-founded ECHO in 2014 with Sarah McDonner. ECHO’s mission is to bring affordable, professional-level performances of classical and contemporary music to the Energy Corridor. At the time, Fahey admits the district was “a little bit of a cultural desert,” but thanks to ECHO’s accessible and family-friendly repertoire, that has since changed.

The orchestra’s combined membership of professional and volunteer players is another reason for its appeal and success. “Each one enriches the other,” says Fahey of ECHO’s mix of vocational and “avocational” musicians. “The excitement that the avocational players have for their instruments excites the professionals, and the skill level of the professional players really boosts the motivation and abilities of the avocational players.” This synergy mirrors the ideal of what a community should be, in which each person raises the other up.

Having recently retired from Stratford High School after 30 years as a music educator, Fahey remains fully committed to ECHO’s vision of inclusivity and high-level artistry. “I’ve never believed classical music is only for the elite or the wealthy,” says Fahey. “I always believed it was for everybody.”

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