Holiday Magic

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 7 ∙ 7:30 PM
FRASER AUDITORIUM

Revel in the holiday season with our Traditional Holiday concert filled with delightful seasonal classics, guaranteed to boost your holiday spirit.

The Sudbury Youth Orchestra joins the SSO onstage to perform holiday favourites including: Evening Prayer from Hansel and Gretel, Fantasia on Greensleeves, and Dances from the Nutcracker.

Don’t forget to bring your voices and join our orchestra performance with our holiday sing along!

PROGRAM

J. Vinson (arr. Broughton) ………. Overture to Miracle on 34th Street

E. Humperdinck (goodmusic) ………. “Evening Prayer” from Hansel and Gretel
Featuring the Sudbury Youth Orchestra

J. Goss (arr. Forest, Moss) ………. See Amid the Winter’s Snow
Featuring the Sudbury Youth Orchestra

R. Vaughn Williams ………. Fantasia on “Greensleeves”
Featuring the Sudbury Youth Orchestra

P. Tchaikovsky ………. Selections from The Nutcracker

INTERMISSION

S. Prokofiev ………. “Troika,” from Lieutenant Kijé

(Arr. R. Sheldon) ………. A Most Wonderful Christmas

A. Silvestri ………. Suite from The Polar Express

G. Autry ………. Here Comes Santa Claus

W. Rollins ………. Frosty the Snowman

Trad. ………. Medley: Deck the Halls, Silent Night, We Wish You a Merry Christmas

PROGRAM NOTES

Christmas. A time of anticipation. Delicious aromas of cinnamon and chestnuts. Amidst the commercial hype and excited scurrying from place to place, it’s often difficult to recall a time when we could feel something special about the holiday season. Yet take the briefest of moments to be still, look, listen and we can yet sense it in the beautiful symmetry of a snowflake; the satisfying sound of snow crunching under foot; the delight in a child’s eyes; the comfort of being around friends and family; or the somewhat friendlier way we seem to greet each other at this time of year. One word captures the spirit of the holidays: Magic. Tonight’s program is a celebration of the magic of the holidays, with music drawn from seasonal favourites in the realms of music, dance and film. Each tells a story of some of the wondrous, whimsical, or fantastical events and characters which come to be at this special time of year.

Movies have the power to capture and illustrate the many meanings of the holidays in the most entertaining ways. The film, Miracle on 34th Street, Santa Claus himself is put on trial, with the magical result being that the whole courtroom – indeed, the whole city – comes to believe in him and his message. The overture is taken from the score to the 1994 theatrical release. The Polar Express, tells the story of a young boy who takes an extraordinary train ride to the North Pole and, along the way, learns the importance of never losing his sense of wonder. The Academy-award nominated score playfully and beautifully reflects that wondrous journey.

Our most beloved classical composers, too, have explored the connection between supernatural events and the holiday season. Humperdinck’s opera, Hansel and Gretel, was first performed on December 23rd 1893, and its music has been strongly associated with the Christmas season ever since. In the story, the titular characters find themselves lost in the woods at nightfall, and so sing to themselves an Evening Prayer to ask for help and protection, while the Sandman eases them to sleep. When it comes to holiday traditions, few can match the enduring popularity of Tchaikovsky’s ballet, The Nutcracker. The piece tells the story of Clara, a young girl who receives a toy nutcracker at Christmas. She dreams the nutcracker transforms into a handsome prince who transports her to a magical world where they are welcomed by the Sugarplum Fairy and are entertained with toys, dances and festivities. The character dances from the ballet are undoubtedly the composer’s most recognizable work.

Other works on our program reflect the sacred side of the holiday season, referencing the miracle at the heart of the Christmas celebration. The melody for the 19th century English carol “What Child is This,” comes from the Renaissance song “Greensleeves”; Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on “Greensleeves” takes advantage of soaring flutes and an ethereal harp to present this enduring favourite. Another 18th century English carol, See Amid the Winter’s Snow, is beautifully arranged for the string section in this lush and moving rendition of John Goss’ original.

Of course, there is nothing like a traditional sing-along to spur the festive spirit, so we once again invite you all to join us in the performance of some perennial favourites. We are also especially proud to be joined by the Sudbury Youth Orchestra, who will be joining us for several works on this evening’s program.

We thank you for joining us once again for this annual celebration, and on behalf of the board of directors, staff, volunteers, and musicians of the Sudbury Symphony Orchestra, we would like to wish everyone a very happy holiday season!

Jamie Arrowsmith

THE SUDBURY YOUTH ORCHESTRA

The Sudbury Youth Orchestra (SYO), founded in 1972, is an award-winning non-profit organization providing high-quality ensemble instruction and performance opportunities for young musicians from across the region of Greater Sudbury.

The recipient of many awards and honours at music festivals locally, provincially, and abroad, the SYO has a long been recognized for its excellence. It has twice participated in the Banff Festival of Youth Orchestras, and in 1987 it was invited to attend the Quebec Festival of Youth Orchestras in Shawinigan, the first Youth Orchestra outside of Quebec to have participated in this event. Champions of contemporary composers, they have performed the world premiere of Gary Kulesha’s “Drift of Stars” at the 1989 Youth Orchestra Festival in Kingston, Ontario, the world premiere of “Lament and Lullaby” commissioned by the SYO from American composer Russel Podgorsek in 2008, and “The Chagall Window” by Peter Wiegold, also a world premiere commission, in 2010. The SYO has toured throughout the province, having performed in concert series’ in Sudbury, Barrie, Toronto and Niagara Falls, and it routinely performs in festivals and concert tours abroad, including the 2004 Salzburg International Music Festival, the 2005 Aberdeen International Youth Festival, the 2010 Salzburg Cantus MM Music and Culture Festival, and the 2019 Lisbon International Youth Music Festival. They have also performed at prestigious venues in Iceland, England, Germany, the Czech Republic, Italy and Greece.

The Orchestra is led by Dr. Jamie Arrowsmith, who holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music, Kent State University and Brunel University, London.

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