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CHICO — The North State Symphony”s February concerts, “Beauty Rising,” will feature lush and soaring neo-classical compositions as well as special guest appearances by the winners of last season”s Young Artist Competition.

For “Beauty Rising,” the NSS will perform Haydn”s “Symphony No. 88″; Respighi”s “Botticelli Pictures,” music inspired by the master”s paintings; and Stravinsky”s “Dumbarton Oaks.”

“We will have a full orchestra performing but with slightly smaller string and wind sections so this will be a very tight and intimate performance. Some of our most outstanding performances have been with smaller sections and I think this is destined to be one of those. I think this will be one of our best concerts,” said Kyle Wiley Pickett, NSS conductor.

Anthoni Polcari, who placed first in in the high school division of last season”s Young Artist competition, will perform the first movement of Haydn”s charming “C Major Cello Concerto” with the symphony. In the summer of 2009 Polcari was Principal Cello of the Interlochen Philharmonic and spent six weeks of intense music studies at the camp. He is a member of the North State Symphony and was principal cellist for the Simpson Sinfonia. He is currently studying with Jean-Michel Fonteneau, who teaches at the San Francisco Conservatory.

“Anthoni is a tremendously talented player,” said Pickett.

Mezzo-soprano and Chico native Molly Mahoney, the first-place winner in the competition”s college/university division, will sing four sultry songs from Canteloube”s Chants D”Auvergne with the orchestra.

“Molly is an outstanding singer, really terrific. We were uniformly blown away by her in the competition. The audience is really going to enjoy her performance of these folk songs from a sun-baked region in southern France, an area like Tuscany. The composer marries the folk-songs with a gorgeous orchestral accompaniment,” said Pickett.

Mahoney recently toured the Bay Area performing the role of Cinderella in an English translation of Rossini”s “La Cenerentola” with the San Francisco Opera Guild. Other operatic roles include Tolomeo in “Giulio Cesare,” Mother Goose in “The Rake”s Progress,” Zita in “Gianni Schicchi,” Third Lady in “The Magic Flute,” Eustazio and Mago in “Rinaldo” at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and the title role in “Carmen” at California State University, Chico. Her musical theater credits include lead roles as Adelaide in “Guys and Dolls,” Anne Collier in “The 1940s Radio Hour,” Maisie in “The Boyfriend” and Honey Wonderly in the Annie Award-winning original musical, “The Black Bird Sings.”

A stylistically diverse performer, Mahoney is the lead female vocalist with The George Cole Quintet. The Quintet just returned from two National Tours to promote their new album, “Riverside Drive.” Miss Mahoney has been singing with big bands, including the local Skyliners Big Band, since she was 10 years old and has since opened for artists including Peter Marshall, The Ink Spots, The Mills Brothers, Marilyn King, and Don Cherry and The Modernaires. Mahoney also appeared in concert with Vinnie Falcone, musical director and accompanist for the late Frank Sinatra.

Mahoney received her B.A. in Music with a concentration in Vocal Performance at California State University, Chico and her Master”s degree in Vocal Performance from SFCM in spring 2010 under the tutelage of Wendy Hillhouse.

“I am so excited; it is so thrilling to be singing these songs with a full orchestra accompaniment,” said Mahoney. “The Chico audiences know me as big band singer. This will be my first big classical performance back home so I am really looking forward to sharing something new with them.”

The Redding concert, Feb. 19, will be held at the Cascade Theatre. Ticket information is available at www.northstatesymphony.org or by calling the Cascade Theatres box office at 243-8877. The Chico concert, Feb. 20, will be held at Laxson Auditorium. Ticket information for this performance is also available at the NSS” website or by calling the University Box Office at 898-6333. The Redding concert starts at 7:30 p.m. and the Chico concert starts at 2 p.m.* Both are preceded by a free lecture by Kyle Wiley Pickett, NSS conductor, one hour before the performances.

Beauty Rising

When: Feb. 19 & 20

Where: Redding, Chico

Tickets: $27-$48


Correction, Friday, Feb. 11, 2011: The original version of this story has an incorrect time for the Chico performance. The show in Chico on Feb. 20 begins at 2 p.m. in Laxson Auditorium, with a lecture preceding it at 1 p.m. Return to corrected sentence.

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