Hillsdale College Sym­phony Orchestra to perform led Director of Orchestras and Choirs James Holleman.

The Hillsdale College Sym­phony Orchestra opens its 67th season this weekend with a diverse reper­toire fea­turing works from the 19th and 20th cen­turies, high­lighted by Felix Mendelssohn’s “Sym­phony No. 5 in D major,” also known as the “Ref­or­mation” sym­phony.

The Orchestra will perform on Sat­urday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. in Markel Audi­torium. Tickets are free, but Saturday’s concert is already sold out. 

Mendelssohn wrote “Sym­phony No. 5” for the tri­cen­tennial cel­e­bration of the Ref­or­mation, and it includes a “A Mighty Fortress is Our God,” a hymn by Martin Luther some­times called the battle hymn of the Ref­or­mation. This piece’s per­for­mance coin­cides with the Reformation’s 500th anniversary on Oct. 31, which was not acci­dental, according to Director of Orchestras and Choirs James Holleman.

“I had planned to do this piece about two years ago, and when Derek Stauff, our music history pro­fessor, men­tioned that the 500th year was not far out I decided to save it for then,” Holleman said. “It’s a beau­tiful piece. It’s chal­lenging to our orchestra and the instru­men­tation lets all the voices have an important role.” 

The orchestra will also perform Gioachino Rossini’s “Overture to Guil­laume Tell,” Charles Ives’s “Vari­a­tions on ‘America,’” and Samuel Barber’s “Knoxville: Summer of 1915, Op. 24.” 

Holleman said Rossini’s “Overture” high­lights the hard work of the the mature cello section.

“Our seniors have been the leaders of that section since their sophomore year,” Holleman said. “So I’m looking for lit­er­ature that fea­tures them.”

Concert goers can stick around after the per­for­mance on Sat­urday for the Jazz Afterglow, which will be the Big Band’s first per­for­mance of the semester in McNamara Hall.