The Abilene Philharmonic Orchestra will perform a collection of Christmas classics, both revamped and original, with the Hardin Simmons University Choir on Saturday.
An organization established in 1950, the philharmonic has been putting on professional-grade shows since then, “presenting the highest quality artistry, inspiring repertoire, and innovative production,” as said on their website.
Like other professional orchestras, the philharmonic takes members who show talent and love for music from outside of Abilene.
“Members come from all over the state,” said Martin Lazo, bassist for the philharmonic. “It’s amazing to be a part of a large organization that allows many people to create music together.”
Kicking off the holiday season, the Abilene Philharmonic will bring a performance of atmospheric Christmas songs titled “Coming Home for Christmas: An afternoon of Christmas favorites and carols.” The performance will feature conductor David Itkin and Kristi Tingle, Bruce Ewing and Lynette Chambers as guest vocalists.
Continuing into the afternoon is a “classic redoing” of the “12 Days of Christmas” with the orchestra performing musical sound effects for each different day.
Tunes like “The Man with the Bag,” “This Christmas” and the “The Christmas Waltz” make up the first half of the performance. Each song different from the last, the feelings of each piece shift from Sinatra-like to gospel to something reminiscent of “Mary Poppins.”
The latter half of the concert will bring a classic Victorian Christmas setting, having the audience sing Christmas carols along with the choir, as well as playing pieces like “In the Bleak Midwinter.”
Closing the event is a medley of “The First Noel,” “Hark the Herald Angels Sing,” “O Come All Ye Faithful” and “Angels We Have Heard on High.”
With dedication to performing concerts that show thematic relation to upcoming holidays, the Abilene Philharmonic shows no signs of staying exclusively dedicated to only classical symphonies.
“There is a great sense of renewed energy and momentum surrounding the Philharmonic’s 2018-19 Concert Season,” said Kevin Smith, executive director.