When a host plans a dinner party of multiple courses, he must consider each in relation to the other. The appetizer must compliment the main course, and both must be considered with the dessert.
Minot Symphony Orchestra conductor Dennis Simons approaches his concerts with the same care.
"Sometimes it's more difficult putting it together in bite-sized chunks," he said.
Saturday's concert in Ann Nicole Nelson Hall, titled "A Rich Full Day," demonstrates this care, opening with "Pique Dame Overture" by Franz von Suppe.
"It's one of the flashiest, most wonderful overtures," Simons said. "Like sheet lightning, not forked lightning. Upbeat and sunny for these dark days."
Following this is the winner of the annual High School Concerto Competition, Malori Mattson, playing Mozart's Violin Concert No. 5.
Patrons of the Minot Symphony Orchestra are invited to join first cellist Erik Anderson and special guests for a pre-concert lecture in Ann Nicole Nelson Hall, starting at 6:30 p.m. on the evening of the concert.
This presentation includes an inside look at the symphony program for the evening and what to listen for during the performance.
Admission is free with a season ticket or $5 per person, $10 per family without season tickets. MSU faculty, staff and students are admitted free of charge.
The MSO Family Concert takes place Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in the Ann Nicole Nelson Hall at Minot State University. Prices vary by seating choice. Call 858-4228 for reservations.
"She was so well prepared and so committed," Simons said. "(She) plays very nicely. At the actual competition, everyone commented on the high quality of all the young performers."
The main feature is "The Story of Babar, the Little Elephant," by Francois Poulenc, orchestrated by Jean Francaix.
"The musical score punctuates the story wonderfully," he said, noting that a tuba plays the elephant, and there is a contrabassoon for more deep elephant sounds. "It includes so many of the little stories his wonderful clothes and his motorcar among others. We're thrilled to be doing it. The text is narrated by Conrad Davidson, and he really brings something for the whimsical side of us."
In a nod to the doctorates he and his wife Penny recently earned, Simons has programmed "Pomp and Circumstance" by Elgar, but not the one familiar from graduation ceremonies. That melody is from a work more properly known as the "Pomp and Circumstance Military Marches." The one the orchestra will be playing is March No. 4 in G major.
Simons said, "In keeping with our 'Old World, New World' theme for this year, that's all the old world, so now we turn to the new world.
"I'm really pleased to be playing 'Amusement Park Suite' by Michael Horwood," Simons said. "I worked with him in Saskatchewan, and he is a dedicated fan of amusement parks. It opens with 'The Sky Ride,' which gives an overview of the entire piece, just as one would get from such a ride."
When Simons exchanged e-mails with the composer, he was told, "Of course in Minot, you're a long way from amusement parks." To which Simons replied, "But we're not far from the Mall of America." Horwood then rhapsodized about the rides to be found there.
The concert closes with a work from Antonin Dvorak, the composer best known for his "From the New World Suite."
"The Slavonic Dances are what made Dvorak famous," Simons said. "We're doing Opus 72, No. 7, which is not just nationalistic, but orchestral. It's a great concert finisher."