For a collaboration now in its 32nd year, this year’s presentation of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker with the Robinson Ballet, brings with it a first of sorts.

“We look forward to it every December” said Brian Hinrichs, the BSO’s Executive Director. “This is partly because of the professionalism and quality the Robinson Ballet brings to the stage, but also because there is such joy surrounding the performance. There is, I think, a level of excitement built-in to the collaboration not just because it’s The Nutcracker, but for some of the younger dancers, it may be their first time performing with a live orchestra. Stevie, Maureen, and Keith are also just easy to work with – we all “get it”, I think, and that’s not always the case in this environment.”

Hinrichs has a lot to be proud of. The Bangor Symphony Orchestra has been turning a lot of heads these days with its quality and its seasonal programming, combining a mix of styles, genres and selections to the delight of its audience, with this season in particular opening to rave reviews. A lot of that has to do with Hinrichs and also with the addition of its masterful new conductor, Lucas Richman. This performance of The Nutcracker will be his first with the BSO and his first time conducting the full symphony with a live ballet.

The significance is not lost on Richman himself, “I’ve been conducting selections from The Nutcracker for almost 30 years, but I’ve never had the privilege to be on the podium for the entirety of this magnificent work.”

The performance of The Nutcracker has become an annual tradition for the followers of the BSO, Robinson Ballet and the greater Bangor area as a whole. This has a lot to do with the size and quality of the production. “The scale is indeed different, both because of the volume of attendees and the added elements of dance and scenery. On the production front, the Robinson Ballet is a well-oiled machine behind the scenes and we’re lucky to work with a great tech team at the Collins Center too. This lets us at the BSO rest easy and focus on the music and front of house operations. We definitely scale-up our volunteer operation to manage the crowds and sales at The Nutcracker store. When it comes to the music, the conductor and musicians are operating in the service of the drama on stage, while they remain “invisible” in the pit, so there’s an added layer when it comes to interpreting the piece,” said Hinrichs.

And it’s true. From the dancers and choreographers, to the musicians and conductor, choir members, Collins Center staff, or the thousands of audience members each season the show is a truly unique celebration of community and spirit.

For those who may have never attended or for those maybe joining for their 32nd year, Hinrichs believe there are no excuses to miss out on this wonderful performance. “The music and story are timeless. No matter what holiday traditions you celebrate, The Nutcracker captures the spirit of childhood imagination – the dreams, fears, magic, and mysteries. And it’s definitely a great first show, in a very family-friendly setting. You already know the music, and you likely know someone on stage or in the pit.”

Tickets for the Bangor Symphony Orchestra’s presentation of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker with the Robinson Ballet, are available at collinscenterforthearts.com. More information can also be found at bangorsymphony.org.