Put Givens Performing Arts Center’s “Holiday Extravaganza” on your holiday bucket list this year. It promises to be a musical smorgasbord with something to delight every palate. Classical and jazz, choral and a cappella, woodwinds and brass – and even tubas. Webster’s defines “extravaganza” as a spectacular, dramatic and elaborate production, and that’s exactly what the music department at UNC Pembroke promises to deliver. The UNC Pembroke “Holiday Extravaganza” at GPAC takes place Friday, Nov. 30, beginning at 8 p.m.
Conceived 10 years ago by Dr. Timothy Altman, UNCP professor of music and director of bands and trumpets, the annual event draws talented participants from throughout the university’s department of music. Both students and faculty participate.
According to Altman, music department faculty members create each annual extravaganza program around the talents and strengths of the students.
The production is an interactive event. In addition to utilizing the full concert stage, various pieces are performed from spots strategically placed throughout the audience. This contributes to the pacing; it directs audience attention elsewhere while the main stage is being re-set and keeps the production moving forward.
“The show is 99 percent music,” Altman said. “It’s full of musical variety and fast-paced.”
On tap to perform in the extravaganza are the vocal jazz ensemble, directed by Nathan Thomas; the UNCP Global Rhythm Ensemble, directed by Dr. Joseph Van Hassel; the jazz combo, directed by Dr. Aaron Vandermeer; the trumpet ensemble, directed by Altman; the flute choir, directed by Sarah Busman; the saxophone choir, directed by Marty Spitzer; the Pembroke Singers, directed by Dr. Jose Rivera; the UNCP string orchestra, directed by Michael Sparks; the wind ensemble, directed by Altman; and the university chorale, directed by Dr. Jaeyoon Kim.
Among the highlights of this year’s extravaganza will be Duke Ellington’s jazz arrangement of “The Nutcracker Suite.” Also debuting this year will be a completely original piece for the saxophone choir.
While “Carol of the Bells” is standard holiday fare, this year’s rendition will be somewhat of a departure from tradition. The finale promises to be spectacular, with more than 100 members of the wind ensemble and the university chorale onstage. Words to the “Hallelujah Chorus” are printed in the program, and the audience is invited to participate. With more than 1,000 voices raised in song, this is a wonderful way to get into the holiday spirit.
Tuba Christmas, a nationwide event open to the community, will perform in front of the lobby beginning at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets may be purchased from the GPAC box office by phone prior to the concert and can be held at the will-call window. The number is 910-521-6409. Tickets may also be purchased from the box office in person, which is located at 1 University Dr. in Pembroke, at the center of the front entrance to the GPAC lobby. Box office hours are from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, and one hour before the performance.
General admission tickets are $12, children’s tickets are $5, and UNCP student admission is $2.