Arts Campus News

Holiday concerts celebrate ‘The Spirits of Holidays Past, Present, and Yet to Come’

The Hugh Hodgson School of Music's holiday concerts, seen above in 2019, will premiere virtually this year on Dec. 17 and 18. (Submitted photo)

Each year around this time, Hodgson Hall fills to the brim with families and friends ready to get into the holiday spirit at the Hugh Hodgson School of Music annual holiday concerts. On Dec. 17 and Dec. 18, two virtual Holiday Concert videos will premiere with the theme of “The Spirits of Holidays Past, Present, and Yet to Come.”

“One of our favorite musical traditions is the annual holiday concert, which brings together all areas of the school in a celebration of joy and peace. Though the conditions of 2020 prevent us from holding the usual concert in Hodgson Hall, we are pleased to share two virtual concerts with all of you,” said Pete Jutras, director of the Hodgson School.

While the typical Thursday Scholarship Series Holiday Concert has the same program each night, audiences will be able to enjoy two video premieres this holiday season. Each premiere will contain performances from favorite ensembles and programs of past performances, such as movements from the “Nutcracker” by the UGA Symphony Orchestra, the Hodgson Singers performing pieces by Copland and Rutter, as well as some upbeat performances and a sing-a-long from the British Brass Band.

“Despite challenges, our students continue to perform and create wonderful music with the highest levels of artistry and passion,” Jutras said. “We look forward to sharing a mix of new works alongside some traditional ensemble pieces from recent concerts. We are grateful for the comfort and healing that music brings to the world, and we send all of our wishes for peace and joy this holiday season.”

Students and faculty are submitting classic and jazz arrangements of holiday songs as part of the Hodgson at Home series to represent the “Spirits of Holiday Present.” Horn faculty member James Naigus will premiere his arrangement of the “Wexford Carol” using multitrack recordings he performs solo.

“The Wexford Carol is a traditional Irish carol whose beautiful modal melody captivated me. I knew it would work perfectly for the tight timbral unity of a horn choir. In arranging this piece, I wanted the melody to remain steadfast, enhancing it instead through harmonic variation,” said Naigus.

Representing the “Future” will be performances from the Georgia Children’s Chorus, which is in its 23rd season and is composed of the voices of 100 children, ages 7-18.

“GCC has been inspiring youth from all walks of life to come together to sing, make music and build choral community. Members are taught to believe in themselves, in their potential, in their future, and to remember to sing from their heart and to believe in the song,” said Carol Reeves, GCC artistic director.

The concerts will premier for free on the Hodgson School’s YouTube channel at 7 p.m. each night.