The Williamsport Symphony Orchestra invites the community to get in the holiday spirit with its annual holiday concert, "Time to Rejoice!"
The concert will be held at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 3 at the Community Arts Center, 220 W. Fourth St.
"Time to Rejoice!" will lead off with a children's tale, "The Snowman." This unique combination of narration and song will feature guest artist Fiona Powell, who will read the story with the WSO accompanying. Powell, a local folklorist, storyteller and radio host, regularly reads to children at early childhood centers and special events. Williamsport Area High School student Veronica Balestino will lend her voice as soprano for this performance. Balestino performed in last year's holiday concert as well.
Maestro Gerardo Edelstein, WSO conductor, described the piece as "a conversation between the orchestra and the narration."
Much like a movie which uses music to express drama or suspense, the music in this piece will serve to enhance the story.
"It's very well-written in that when there is speaking, (the music is) very soft," Edelstein said. "It really adds a lot to the narration."
"The Snowman" was composed by Howard Blake in 1982; the original composition accompanied an animated film version of the children's picture book of the same name, by Raymond Briggs.
"(The story) became a classic and then the music was added later," Edelstein said of the story that eventually was made into the popular movie "Frosty the Snowman." "It's a fun piece to do, and it's very appealing for children."
In fact the entire show will appeal to a wider audience than the typical WSO performance, as it will feature well-known holiday tunes and even a sing-along.
From "Snowman" to George Frideric Handel's "Messiah," the WSO will continue along this season's theme of "Tales." "Messiah" tells the story of the birth of Jesus Christ and is a religious piece.
"It has been one of the most performed oratories ever," Edelstein said.
The performance will include four soloists and will feature the Williamsport Area High School choir, under the direction of Kent Weaver.
"We collaborated (with the WAHS choir) in the past and I thought it would be great for them to perform this as well," Edelstein said.
The high school choir also will sing for the performance of "Joy to the World," which will lead the program.
This year's concert falls closer to Thanksgiving than to Christmas this year; it also falls close to Hanukkah.
"It's a time of the year for celebration in many different religions," Edelstein said.
This is why in addition to a number of Christmas songs, the performance will include a medley of symphonic dances from "Fiddler on the Roof," a popular Jewish music. The WSO will host Allison Graham, a double bass player, for the medley. Graham was one of two winners of the WSO Young Artists' Competition in October.
This number - along with the rest of the performance - will include some interaction with the audience.
"Expect surprises at this concert," Edelstein said.
The performance will end with "The 12 Days of Christmas."
"We encourage the audience to sing along and participate," Edelstein said.
The concert will also continue the recent addition of trivia questions at WSO events. Audience members will be given three questions about the pieces performed. All correct answers will be entered into a drawing and the winner will receive two tickets to the next concert. The winner from the last concert was John B. Williman, of Lewisburg.
The concert is guaranteed to put its audience in the holiday spirit, Edelstein said: "It's going to be a very festive event."