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Symphony makes season finale show fantastic
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‘Fantastic Finales'
Gainesville Symphony Orchestra performance
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Brenau University's Pearce Auditorium, 500 Washington St. SE, Gainesville
How much: $30 adults, $27 seniors, $12 students
More info: 770-532-5727

If you've ever skipped your meat and vegetables and dug right into dessert, you'll fit right in at "Fantastic Finales," the Gainesville Symphony Orchestra's final concert of the 2008-2009 season, set for 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Brenau University's Pearce Auditorium.

Gregory Pritchard, music director for the GSO, said he chose the theme of "Fantastic Finales" because composers often save the best for last. Instead of a choosing a single symphonic work that builds slowly, Pritchard will lead the orchestra in five exciting movements.

"Just having the finales of these major works, it gives, if you will, the high, fast and loud stuff. The really exciting parts of the symphonies," Pritchard said. "This particular concert's just going to be a really high-energy performance with lots of notes and lots of volume."

Pritchard said the finales, which will include movements by Devorak, Brahms, Mozart, Stravinsky and Tschaikowsky, will be a good sampler for music lovers who might not be familiar with the symphony.

"This kind of concert this weekend is a great opportunity to get somebody in the seats who maybe hasn't heard the symphony in a while or maybe has never heard the symphony, because they're individual selections," Pritchard said.

"It's not a long, drawn out work, and there are some brief explanations before them to give people something to listen for."

"Fantastic Finales" will be the last concert of the regular GSO season, but it won't be the final bow for the orchestra itself.

Cynthia Dieckman, president of the board of the GSO, said budget cuts have kept the nonprofit organization afloat despite tough economic times.

Dieckman said having a smaller staff and fewer concerts also helped the orchestra, which comprises professional musicians who also perform in other regional orchestras.

Dieckman said individual sponsorship of the symphony has not lagged as much as support from corporate sponsors, who also are feeling the pinch at their own companies.

But she added that, while concertgoers may come out to support the GSO, the orchestra can help them, too.

"One night they can come and just kind of come and enjoy a wonderful evening of beautiful music and forget about their problems," Dieckman said.

Later this year, music lovers can attend the orchestra's July 3 Patriotic Pops Concert to tide them over until next season.