The Valley Symphony Orchestra is gearing up for its annual Christmas by Candlelight concert, but this year, the scores from Broadway and film will echo the room.
Music from the Christmas concert will feature several songs already likely familiar to audiences, but they come packaged with a holiday twist. The orchestra will play music from Broadway musicals and Hollywood movies such as the Polar Express. Bing Crosby will make an entrance in the performance while offering a new take to the old classic.
“This year, we’re featuring ‘Christmas on Broadway and Film,’ as tunes and soundtracks from these mediums have become instantly recognizable and integral staples of the end-of-the-year festivities we communally share,” said Valley Symphony Association spokesperson Stacey Ryan in a news release. “Along with popular secular seasonal selections, the VSA will perform an array of traditional carols, hymns, and spirituals. The concert will culminate with the “Hallelujah” chorus from Handel’s “Messiah.”
The annual concert will feature both the chorus and the orchestra within the VSA, with new chorus director Katie Kristoffersen joining the candlelit performance for the first time. Kristoffersen’s 20 years of coaching and teaching are backed by undergraduate and master’s degrees in musical education, where she’s since learned to combine her love of mindfulness and music.
Following the success of the VSO’s first two concerts of the season, VSO conductor Michael Kern expects no less from the Christmas concert, spread out over two days to accommodate the scheduling needs of their audiences.
The concert will open with the processional as the orchestra performs, ‘She may safely graze,” by Johann Sebastian Bach. With the auditorium dark except for the performing orchestra on stage with their stand lights, the chorus will begin their own procession by candlelight as they take their place on the stage.
The night’s performance will take audience members through a host of musical stories, from Disney’s “Frozen” to a Los Angeles resident wishing aloud for a White Christmas that will never come due to the region’s climate.
“We have a piece that we’re doing called ‘Christmas on Broadway,’ which features the orchestra and the chorus,” said Kern. “After intermission, the orchestra and chorus will come back on stage and the orchestra is going to play a very haunting and kind of mysterious version of ‘We Three Kings —’ it’s called ‘Fantasia on We Three Kings.’
Kern said audience members can expect performances of “I’ll be home for Christmas” and “Let there be peace on earth” before the two part performance closes with Handel’s “Messiah.”
“It’s such a festive time of the year and we are really excited about being able to do this Christmas concert,” said Kern. “We feel blessed that we can do this and you know that the performers all really enjoyed doing this. To me, Christmas is just a wonderful time of the year and Christmas music is really a big part of it.”
Performances are Saturday, Dec. 4 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 5 at 3 p.m. at the Montrose Pavilion.
Tickets are $5 for students, $20 for adults and for pre-sale, or $25 at the door.
For information on upcoming concerts, the audition process and tickets, visit the VSA on Facebook @valleysymphonyassociation or at ValleySymphony.org. Tickets are available in Delta at Clubb’s (502 Main St). Other inquiries may be directed to 970-275-8676 or info@ValleySymphony.org.
Cassie Knust is a staff writer for the Montrose Daily Press.