Spirit of Christmas comes alive in joint holiday performance

November 29, 2013 

Childrens_Choir

Mercer Children’s Choir rehearses last week in Newton Chapel for the “Home for the Holidays.”

WOODY MARSHALL — woody@woodymarshall.com

The sound and spirit of Christmas will fill the Grand Opera House on Sunday as childrens’ choirs and the Macon Symphony Orchestra come together for a special performance.

“Home for the Holidays” will feature a range of Christmas songs performed by the Mercer University Children’s Choir and Vineville Academy’s Vineville Voices as well as music featuring the 61-piece orchestra. The program starts at 4 p.m.

“The whole program is designed to encompass the quiet reflectiveness of Christmas and the joy of Christmas and the beauty of Christmas,” said David Keith, who is dean of Mercer’s Townsend School of Music and will be conducting the performance.

The Macon Symphony Orchestra last performed a holiday concert in 2010.

“We’re glad to be bringing this program back since it’s always well-received,” Connie Davis, personnel manager of the orchestra, said in an email.

It was Keith’s idea to pair the orchestra with the childrens’ choirs for the performance, she said.

“There is something about the sound of children’s voices, and when combined with the orchestra, it will joyfully usher us into the holiday season,” Keith said.

The program will include everything from “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “Jingle Bell Rock” to “Oh, Come All Ye Faithful.”

“It’s a combination of all kinds of music,” Keith said. “There’s music that the children will be singing, there’s going to be some audience participation on the singing of a couple of Christmas carols. ... We’re probably going to hit almost everyone’s favorite at some point.”

This includes some pieces from composer John Wasson that highlight the strengths of the orchestra, including “Hark! The Herald Trumpets Sing.”

“One thing all of the children will love is a setting of ‘ ’Twas the Night Before Christmas,’ ’’ Keith said. “That story will be read and the music that accompanies it ... you are able to imagine what would be taking place.”

He plans to introduce the pieces with a story, a little information about the composer or hints of what to listen for as the music plays.

“To let (the audience) become a part of the music making process,” Keith said.

The program will conclude with “God Bless Us Everyone” from Disney’s “A Christmas Carol,” which Keith said will be a “big rousing end.”

“If people walk out of this program and they’ve not been touched by the beauty of Christmas through the power of the music that they hear, then in my opinion it’s been a complete failure,” he said. “Music has the ability to move us from the common, mundane day activities ... into the childlike awe of Christmas morning and that’s what we hope that concert would do.”

“Home for the Holidays”

When: 4 p.m. Dec. 1

Where: The Grand Opera House, 651 Mulberry St.

Cost: $38.50 adults; $18.50 students; $13.50 children 12 and younger

Information: www.thegrandmacon.com, 478-301-5470

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