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By JOSEPH NORRISStaff writer

The COSMIC Orchestra is preparing for its season finale 7 p.m. May 12 at Great Mills High School, 21130 Great Mills Road and 4 p.m. May 13 at Huntingtown High School, 4125 N. Solomons Island Road. This performance will feature guest conductor Julien Benichou, who conducts the Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra on Maryland’s Eastern Shore and Chesapeake Youth Orchestra in Annapolis.

“Vladimir [Lande] is a friend and colleague,” Benichou said. “We’ve worked together for about 12 years.

Benichou, who lives in Baltimore, conducts the Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra and Chesapeake Youth Orchestra, among many others. He said it takes him two-and-a-half hours to get to rehearsals at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church in Lexington Park. He touted the COSMIC Orchestra as an asset to the community.

“They’re very eager to do what you ask,” he said. “They’re willing to learn and improve. It’s a matter of making them feel comfortable. They don’t do it to make a living. Some are more focused on the performance. My job is to focus everyone on the music. I have to be focused as well.”

The two upcoming performances will focus on “Music from the Movies,” including Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 in A Major (second movement) from “The Kings Speech”; Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture in E Flat Major (celebrating the 200th anniversary); two pieces from Aram Khachaturian, including the Sabre Dance (various productions) and Adagio from “Sparticus”; as well as John Williams’ Theme from Harry Potter.

Benichou has just finished conducting Porgy & Bess at Morgan State University, which received a glowing review from The Baltimore Sun. He also guest-conducted the COSMIC Orchestra in October of last year.

“It’s a good community orchestra,” Benichou said. “It’s good to have these kind of performances where the community can come see a concert without having to go to Annapolis, Baltimore or D.C.”

Tickets are $10 per person, $8 for seniors, military, students, special needs or Maryland state employees and $25 per family. For more information, go to