The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

December 12, 2012

Holiday Pops set for tonight

The Daily Southerner
MIRANDA BAINES

TARBORO — Holiday classics will reverberate from the walls of the Keihin Auditorium at Edgecombe Community College tonight when the North Carolina Symphony performs a holiday pops concert at 8 p.m. under the direction of Resident Conductor William Henry Curry. Tickets are $20 for adults and $5 for students preschool through college. Students will need to show a photo ID.

 “I think it’s a wonderful opportunity for Edgecombe County folks to be able to see a world-class orchestra right in their own backyard for a reasonable price,” said Eric Greene, cultural arts director for the college. “It’s something that really gets you in the holiday spirit.”

The lighthearted “March of the Toys” from “Babes in Toyland,” pieces from the Tchaikovsky’s classic ballet “The Nutcracker,” and the Christmas hymns “Angels We Have Heard on High” and “The First Noel” are some of the well-known holiday numbers the symphony will perform. Although the song is not listed on the program, at previous holiday concerts the symphony has played “Sleigh Ride” by Roy Anderson as “an encore for the audience,” said Greene.

“Almost everything is familiar,” said Joe Newberry, the symphony’s director of communications.

During the concert, the audience will have a chance to join the symphony for a sing-along of favorite Christmas carols.

“You look around at the audience and everybody’s having a ball,” Newberry said. He said the sing-a-longs are a chance to introduce the “next generation” to carols the older generation sang as children, such as “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus,”  “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.”

The quality of sound produced by the 67 professional musicians at tonight’s concert is one that cannot be matched by “the best stereo system,” Newberry said.

“You feel the brass rumbling … There’s almost a warmth in the air when the strings are going,” he said. “The musicians love touching people’s hearts when they are playing.”

In addition to providing professional-quality music to the audience, the holiday pop concerts give friends and neighbors a chance to get together for a special occasion.

“It’s building a wonderful little community within a community,” Newberry said, adding the symphony delights in becoming a “holiday tradition” for North Carolinians. A group of volunteers representing Tarboro’s chapter of the North Carolina Symphony work to bring the holiday concert to the community every year, and the event is usually well attended, Greene said.

 The holiday concert is part of the college’s 2012-2013 performance series. For more information about the upcoming events in the series, contact Greene at 823-5166, ext. 187.