Shoals Symphony At UNA Hosts Annual Holiday Concert Dec. 6

Nov. 19, 2009


FLORENCE, Ala. – Mark your calendar for Dec. 6, when one of the most popular musical events of the season will take place: the Shoals Symphony at UNA’s annual Holiday Concert. This year’s performance, Saint-Saens’ “Christmas Oratorio,” is set for 2 p.m. in Norton Auditorium.

Tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for students. Tickets are available at www.una.edu/shoals-symphony or at the Kennedy-Douglass Center for the Arts in downtown Florence. Tickets are also available at the door.

In keeping with recent tradition, the UNA combined choirs will perform with the orchestra under the direction of Dr. Ian Loeppky. The combined choirs are the Collegiate Singers, the University Chorale and the Vocal Jazz Ensemble, with a total of 90 voices.

Viljar Weimann, symphony music director and conductor, said this year’s concert is in two parts. First is a classic holiday celebration masterpiece by French composer Saint-Saens featuring chorus and soloist accompanied by organ, harp and strings. Although not often performed, the “Christmas Oratorio” is still a lovely introduction to the peaceful and devotional setting of Nativita.

After a short intermission, the second half of the program will be a presentation of light instrumental music, featuring “Sleigh Ride” by Leroy Anderson, “March of the Toys” from Victor Herbert’s musical “Babes in Toyland,” “The Little Drummer Boy” by Bob Cerulli, and Vaughn-Williams’ “Greensleeves” from his opera “Sir John in Love.” The program will conclude with an audience sing-a-long medley of favorite holiday tunes.

There is a chance the program will also include some guest solos, so anyone interested is encouraged to keep their fingers warmed up.

As always, the Peery Centre Preparatory String Orchestra will take the stage half an hour before the concert starts, performing Vivaldi Concerto in a-minor for two violins, a setting of Christmas songs, a Mozart cassation and a few fiddle tunes.

“What we have planned should put everyone in the holiday spirit,” Weimann said. “They should come early and get good seats because they won’t want to miss a minute.”

The Shoals Symphony at UNA is made up of university and community musicians and performs four concerts a year and hosts competitions for young musicians. The symphony season runs from September throughout August. Concerts are made possible in part by a grant from the Alabama State Council of the Arts.

Other concerts set for this season include “Music From Comrade Russia” at 2 p.m. March 7 at Florence Middle School’s Freshman Center Auditorium, and The Shoals Symphony Pops Concert at 7 p.m. May 8 at River Heritage Park in Florence.

For more information about the Shoals Symphony at UNA, visit www.una.edu/shoals-symphony.