When planning these concerts, our main goal is to entertain. Those attending holiday performances want and often expect to hear some familiar music. This is why I have no qualms about programming some “old chestnuts” for our Christmas concert. It’s even part of our mission: presenting once popular music, now heard less frequently.
This year’s holiday concert will be filled with some MTS favorites and familiar Christmas sounds: "Carol of the Bells,” the Parker/Shaw “Fum, Fum, Fum,” and “”Ding Dong! Merrily on High.” Our audience might recognize “Adoration of the Magi,” as Miklos Rozsa’s nativity scene theme from the film, Ben Hur. Included are two of my arrangements: the spiritual, “Go Tell It on the Mountain”, sung by the men, and another of a popular Christmas song from the Philippines, “Pasko Na Sinta Ko”, sung in the original Tagalog (a world premier!). In addition, we will present a gorgeous “Ave Maria” by Spanish composer, Javier Busto, whose setting of the text has become very popular in recent years.
We always like to include some 20th Century selections, which will include “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” (the most requested Christmas song of World War II USO shows), and Kay Thompson’s “Jingle Bells.” More about these two pieces later!
This year our centerpiece is Roger C. Hannahs’ “Cantata for the Nativity, written around 1958 and scored for treble choir, four-part chorus, and organ - quite wonderful and fun to prepare. Joining us is treble choir, Perfect Cadence, from the Merit School of Music. Led by Carling Fitzsimmons, Perfect Cadence will also present three selections of their own.
I’ve always felt that Christmas is a sentimental time, but joyful and happy, as well, reflected in our “up” and energetic selections.
If you want a fun, uplifting performance to start your Holiday Season, join us for this concert!