The Hugh Hodgson School of Music will present its annual Holiday Concert on Nov. 21 and 22 at 7:30 p.m. in Hodgson Concert Hall. The final Thursday Scholarship Series performances of this calendar year, the program features the University of Georgia Symphony Orchestra and the combined choirs of Glee Clubs, University Chorus and Hodgson Singers.
The program will include a large portion of the orchestral music from Tchaikovsky’s holiday classic ballet, The Nutcracker, performed in the first half of the concert.
“This year’s concerts presented a unique challenge in that they are the week before Thanksgiving, which marks the beginning of the holidays,” said Mark Cedel, director of orchestral activities, about why he chose for the UGA Symphony Orchestra to perform Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker Suite” from Act II.
The second half of the program will include the choirs with orchestra and will include pieces on the theme of Thanksgiving and harvest. This section will include “The Promise of Living,” which is a choral excerpt from Aaron Copland’s opera “The Tender Land.” The combined choirs will sing hymns and shaker tunes arranged by Mack Wilberg and Kevin Siegfried, as well as some traditional holiday selections, including a setting by British composer John Rutter. They will perform a sweeping choral/orchestral holiday medley, “A Symphony of Carols,” arranged by Randol Allan Bass, which includes familiar arrangements of carols in medieval French, Spanish, German, Latin and English.
“The foreign language component of ‘A Symphony of Carols’ is a bit of a challenge, and certainly, Tchaikovsky’s brilliant and colorful score for The Nutcracker presents considerable technical challenges,” said Daniel Bara, the John D. Boyd UGA Foundation Professor of Choral Music and director of choral activities.
The second part of the program will premiere a student composition arranged by graduate composition student Benjamin Dawson, student Composer-In-Residence for the UGA Hodgson Singers this year.
“We commissioned a holiday arrangement from him for this concert, and he has written a lovely arrangement of the beloved carol ‘In the Bleak Midwinter’ for choir and chamber orchestra that will be featured on the program,” said Bara.
Additionally, Philip A. Smith, the William F. & Pamela P. Prokasy Professor in the Arts and the director of the British Brass Band, will prepare a brass sextet to offer festival holiday selections as prelude music prior to the start of the concert, so audience members should be sure to arrive early.
The annual holiday concerts are a festive gathering of many student performers (more than 200 singers and nearly 100 instrumentalists) and is a culmination of the fall semester.
“The diversity of selections and the general themes of thanksgiving, community and celebration make this an annual favorite for our audiences,” said Bara.
Tickets for the concerts are $20 for adults and $10 for students and children. They can be purchased by calling 706-542-4400, online at pac.uga.edu or in person at the box office prior to the concert.
For those unable to attend, live streaming services will be available for the Nov. 22 holiday concert at music.uga.edu/live-streaming.