The Rochester Symphony Orchestra concert coming up Dec. 17 is called “Sounds of the Season,” but it might more accurately be titled “Songs and Scenes of the Season.”
The concert will feature three dramatic scenes from favorite Christmas stories: “A Christmas Carol,” “The Gift of the Magi” and “Miracle on 34th Street,” coupled with music from the symphony and chorale.
“They’ll be acted out on a special stage platform, and around those scenes we’re going to do music that fits the period of the story,” said Jere Lantz, orchestra director.
So, the short scene from “A Christmas Carol” will be followed by songs and carols that would have been familiar at Christmas time in Victorian England, including “Good King Wenceslas” and an audience sing along of “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.”
“The Gift of the Magi” (1905) will be followed by turn-of-the-century carols “Away in the Manger,” “Silent Night” and “Jingle Bells.” O. Henry’s “Magi,” by the way, is Lantz’s favorite holiday story. “If you can read it or see the movie without your eyes moistening, you should go to Mayo Clinic and make sure your heart is functioning,” he said.
The final scene, from “Miracle on 34th Street,” will be followed by “Let it Snow,” “The Christmas Song,” “Sleigh Ride” and a medley of “Silver Bells” and “Most Wonderful Time.” Those songs capture the post-World War II spirit of the movie.
“That was in the middle of this flood of holiday songs,” Lantz said. “You see how the ‘40s and ‘50s were a tremendous font of popular Christmas songs.”
The dramatic scenes are directed by Amanda Pyfferoen, and feature Paul Tamminga, Kendra Weyhrauch, Laurie Helmers, Anastasia Goihl, Bill Otte and Melissa Adams-Goihl.
Before the concert ends, the audience can join in on singing “Deck the Halls” and will hear the chorale — and anybody who wants to join in — sing the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s “Messiah.”