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Photos: SLSO Musicians at Missouri Eastern Correctional Center

By Eric Dundon

On December 5, SLSO musicians shared a special performance of holiday and tango music at Missouri Eastern Correctional Center in Pacific. The musicians, a string quintet and English horn known as Cortango, performed music by tango composers including Astor Piazzolla, Luis Riccardi, and Carlos Gardel, as well as arrangement of sacred Christmas music by G.F. Handel and Micahel Praetorius, and more.

The inmates were an attentive, engaged audience and gave the musicians positive energy. Almost everyone joined in for a sing-along at the end of the concert, joining in song for "Silent Night" and "We Wish You a Merry Christmas." Many inmates thanked the musicians following the performance.

The performance was part of the SLSO's SymphonyCares program, which brings music to populations in circumstances that make it difficult or impossible to travel to the orchestra for concerts.

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SLSO musicians in Cortango thank the audience at Missouri Eastern Correctional Center following the performance.

Violinist Asako Kuboki performs Astor Piazzolla's Tango Étude No. 4.

Violinists Jessica Cheng Hellwege (left) and Asako Kuboki.

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MECC inmates give a standing ovation after Astor Piazzolla's Libertango.

Violist Chris Tantillo.

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The SLSO hadn't performed at MECC since prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Double bassist David DeRiso.

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The inmates joined Cortango for sing-along versions of "Silent Night" and "We Wish You a Merry Christmas."

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Cortango musicians include (from left): Chris Tantillo, Melissa Brooks, David DeRiso, Jessica Cheng Hellwege, Asako Kuboki, and Cally Banham.

orchestra in prison
About 50 inmates attended the concert.


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