Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra’s 2017-18 season continues Saturday, Dec. 2, with “A Carolina Holiday” concert that’s distinct from its predecessors. This year, for the first time, a children’s choir – the Fayetteville Academy Chorus – will join the symphony in creating music that evokes the feelings and meanings of Christmas. The FAC is comprised of divisions including third-graders through twelth-graders. The choir recently earned multiple awards at Festival Disney Spring 2017.
FSO president and CEO Christine Kastner reflected on what makes “A Carolina Holiday” special. “I think in the Carolinas, family is important,” she said. “There’s nothing like children’s voices. So to put that in a Christmas concert, I think it brings home what the season is really about with family and children.”
FAC director Lee Ann Valcarcel agreed. She added that she thinks music has a special role to play in family traditions this time of year.
“I feel like the holidays is a time where music plays a bigger role in many people’s lives than it typically does throughout the year,” she said. “More families are going out into the community and listening to live musicians, and I think it is important that children are given the opportunity to share their gifts with an audience that may not typically come to one of their regular concerts. This performance with the symphony has given (the children) the perfect opportunity to do that. … And honestly, we expect to hear adults singing with a symphony. It is such a different and cool experience to hear children do it.”
Sarah Busman, FSO principal flute, said the Christmas season is “the season of fun for musicians” for exactly the reason Valcarcel gave. “(This) season is one of the times that I feel like people in their normal, everyday lives look forward to hearing orchestral musicians. .... like ‘The Nutcracker;’ that is a difficult piece of music to play, and it is a long piece of music to listen to, but people do it. ... It’s part of what makes you smell that pine smell, and you can feel the firewood crackling, and you hear the sleigh ride.”
Along with Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker,” the orchestra will play music from classic Christmas films “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and “Home Alone,” music by John Rutter and two Hanukkah songs. Audience members are encouraged to join in the concert’s traditional Christmas sing-a-long medley with selections from songs including “Joy to the World,” “Silent Night” and “Away in a Manger.”
FSO music director Stefan Sanders said, “We are also featuring our own solo violinist, concertmaster Fabián Lopez, in a really cool (pun intended) juxtaposition of ‘Winter’ from Vivaldi’s ‘Four Seasons’ and ‘Winter’ from Astor Piazzola’s ‘Four Seasons of Buenos Aires.’
“This time of year brings out so many wonderful feelings of good cheer, gratitude and peace to all. We encourage everyone to come, bring their singing voices, and celebrate the start of their holiday season with the FSO.”
“A Carolina Holiday” takes place Dec. 2 at 7:30 p.m. in the Huff Concert Hall at Methodist University. FSO “Music Nerd” Joshua Busman will give a pre-concert talk at 6:45 p.m.
To purchase tickets and to view the full list of concerts for the 2017-18 FSO season, visit www.fayettevillesymphony.org.