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HomeArts/LeisureGateway Chamber Orchestra shows creative brilliance with "The Nutcracker"

Gateway Chamber Orchestra shows creative brilliance with “The Nutcracker”

Gateway Chamber OrchestraClarksville, TN – “Magnificent, Delightful, Exciting, Fantastic,” were just some of the words used in the Austin Peay State University George and Sharon Mabry Concert Hall Sunday afternoon after the Gateway Chamber Orchestra’s rendition of The Nutcracker.

This weekend was the first live audience performance by the Gateway Chamber Orchestra for almost 2 years.

Conductor Gregory Wolynec presented the Tchaikovsky classic with a unique jazz spin from Duke Ellington. The talented musicians were joined on stage by members of the Nashville Ballet.

The performance was a combination of video, contemporary dance, and classical ballet. What was truly amazing is how the orchestra was in time with the video (video clips from the Nashville Ballet’s Nutcracker), note for note, step by step.

Gateway Chamber Orchestra. (Mark Haynes, ClarksvilleOnline.com)
Gateway Chamber Orchestra. (Mark Haynes, ClarksvilleOnline.com)

Arrangements were performed in both classical and jazz formats. The audience was in awe of the breathtaking performance.


“This has been one of the most exciting new projects that we have ever come up with. The combination of classical Tchaikovsky with the great jazz selections made by Duke Ellington is Nutcracker perfectly designed for our community,” said Wolynec.

Gateway Chamber Orchestra. (Mark Haynes, ClarksvilleOnline.com)
Gateway Chamber Orchestra. (Mark Haynes, ClarksvilleOnline.com)

During the last number before intermission, artist Mackenzie Kenyon from the Nashville Ballet joined the jazz musicians. Her sultry and elegant dance moves were simply remarkable.

Nashville Ballet’s Lily Saito and Brett Sjoblom danced during “Grand Pax de Duex” at the end of the show. They glided effortlessly across the floor to the music while performing intricate dance moves and lifts.

Artist Mackenzie Kenyon with the Nashville Ballet dances to a jazz number during the Gateway Chamber Orchestra's The Nutcracker. (Mark Haynes, ClarksvilleOnline.com)
Artist Mackenzie Kenyon with the Nashville Ballet dances to a jazz number during the Gateway Chamber Orchestra’s The Nutcracker. (Mark Haynes, ClarksvilleOnline.com)

All the dancers were a gorgeous spectacle to behold. The entire show was simply magnificent.


“The Nashville Ballet is world-class dancers and directors. Most of the orchestra has played Tchaikovsky where they have been in the pit. They have never had an opportunity to be on stage and watch this great pair dancing at the very end of the show. It was unbelievable,” Wolynec stated.

Gateway Chamber Orchestra. (Mark Haynes, ClarksvilleOnline.com)
Gateway Chamber Orchestra. (Mark Haynes, ClarksvilleOnline.com)

“We are just so delighted to share this with the community. The response was fantastic. Two sold-out shows. We look forward to seeing where this project grows in the future,” continued Wolynec.

Afterward, a special Sugar Plum Party was held for the youngest patrons. They came on stage and had their picture taken with the Nashville Ballet dancers. They also received a sugar cookie from Thistle Sweets and a Nutcracker soldier Christmas ornament.

Nashville Ballet's Brett Sjoblom, Mackenzie Kenyon Lily Saito. (Mark Haynes, ClarksvilleOnline.com)
Nashville Ballet’s Brett Sjoblom, Mackenzie Kenyon Lily Saito. (Mark Haynes, ClarksvilleOnline.com)

The Gateway Chamber Orchestra will be back on stage in Clarksville on Sunday, February 13th performing the Masterworks Series: “Romantic Melodies” at the Mabry Concert Hall. Showtime is at 4:00pm.

The Nashville Ballet returns to the stage with the performance of “Nashville’s Nutcracker” at TPAC December 15th-24th.

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About Gateway Chamber Orchestra

The Gateway Chamber Orchestra (GCO) is a nationally recognized cultural institution committed to enriching lives through innovative concerts, distinctive recordings, and inspiring educational programs. Conducted by Gregory Wolynec, the GCO is delighted to have two Middle Tennessee homes – the Mabry Concert Hall on the campus of Austin Peay State University in Clarksville and The Franklin Theatre in Franklin.

For more information, call 931.444.6240 or visit www.gatewaychamberorchestra.com.

About the Nashville Ballet

Nashville Ballet is the largest professional ballet company in Tennessee. Nashville Ballet presents a varied repertoire of classical ballet and contemporary works by noted choreographers, including original works by Artistic Director Paul Vasterling. Nashville Ballet and the second company, NB2 (a pre-professional training company), provide more than 55,000 arts experiences to adults and children annually through virtual and in-person season performances and its Community Engagement programming.

Curriculum-based Community Engagement programs bring hybrid learning dance education to community centers, colleges, public libraries, and public elementary, middle, and high schools across the state. School of Nashville Ballet brings world-class in-studio, on-demand, and outdoor dance instruction to students age 2 and up.

To learn more about Nashville Ballet, please visit nashvilleballet.com.

Gateway Chamber Orchestra’s The Nutcracker Photo Gallery


2021 Sugar Plum Party Photo Gallery

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