Saturday night, the Paducah Symphony Orchestra presents their the annual Christmas celebration, one of the most energetic performances all season. On Sounds Good, Maestro Raffaele Ponti speaks with George Eldred about the performance and explains why some consider this concert the official start of the Christmas season in Paducah.
The popular Christmas concert features the adult chorus comprised by community members, the youth and children's choruses and the Murray State Concert Choir in addition to the 75-piece orchestra. Ponti hopes the young performers will have a life-changing experience surrounded by musicians and looking at the sold-out audience.
This concert is the perfect "first time performance" to become introduced to the sound of the symphony and choruses, Ponti says. This is one of the most difficult shows for him to program because there are only so many ways to sing "Jingle Bells," he says. By the time you get to Christmas, you don't want to be sick of it, he adds. So this concert features some contemporary, differentiated arrangements from what you'd typically hear on the radio.
Some of the standouts include two songs by Leroy Anderson, "Sleigh Ride" and "Christmas Festival." Anderson worked closely with Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops. These big numbers should bring back memories for much of the audience. There's also a Christmas at the Movies selection, with songs from Home Alone, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas and others. Some more serious tunes like "Christmas Flourish" by Randol Bass. A fresh variation on "Jingle Bells" by Mark Hays. And a chamber piece by Stephen Paulus called "The Holly & The Ivy" featuring chorus, harp and oboe.