LIMA — The ever-popular Mozart by Candlelight performance by the Lima Symphony Orchestra gave the public a chance to listen to the orchestra in a unique setting and hear what a conductor candidate brings to it.
“People love this concert,” said Elizabeth Brown-Ellis, executive director of the symphony. “There are people who don’t follow us necessarily in the concert hall but come to this every year just because it’s such a beautiful setting, and it’s just such a unique experience.”
On Saturday night, the orchestra performed pieces by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart at St. John Catholic Church on South Main Street in Lima. On Sunday, it is scheduled to perform at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Delphos.
The orchestra is being conducted by Brian Eads, the music director of “Les Miserables” North American tour. He’s taking time off from that to try out for the Lima Symphony Orchestra’s conductor position, left open by the departure of Crafton Beck.
“I took the entire week off, as I live in Nashville and just had some stuff to do in Nashville, things to take care of,” Eads said. “It was a good time just to be back home, see some friends. So you get some much-needed work at home done, and then make the jog up to Lima Wednesday.”
Eads is the fourth of seven conductors to get an audition for the job.
“I think the orchestra has really responded to him. Brian has worked with the orchestra before — he’s conducted us actually three times in the past, so it’s not quite the same experience with the other candidates. It’s more just like a friend came back. I think it’s been fun to see him in this light rather than being just a guest conductor,” Brown-Ellis said.
Eads also is a featured soloist, playing Mozart’s “Piano Concerto in d minor.” The night opened with “Overtuse to Cosi fan tutte” and wrapped up with the four movements of “Symphony No. 40 in g minor.”
Eads was impressed with the historic setting for the Mozart by Candlelight concerts. The Lima church was built in 1924, and the Delphos church dates back to 1879 and is on the National Register of Historic Places.
“The ambiance is absolutely stunning. You will walk in and just the beauty of the architecture, the church, St. John’s is stunning,” Eads said. “The music by candlelight is just going to add to the ambiance of that. So I have been very, very impressed not only visually with how beautiful and aesthetically pleasing everything is, but also with the acoustics in this church. I mean, you can’t buy these acoustics. They’re fantastic, and the orchestra sounds amazing, particularly with this style of music and this style of playing. It’s a perfect setting for this concert.”
Tickets are still available for the Mozart by Candlelight concert Sunday. It starts at 4 p.m. in at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Delphos.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.