BY LANA MICHELIN
The Red Deer Symphony Orchestra will perform a ho-ho-ho, deck-the-halls kind of Christmas concert — with a little help from the Royals.
The Christmas With the Red Deer Royals show on Saturday, Dec. 10, at the Red Deer College Arts Centre will involve a total of 90 musicians — from talented and enthusiastic teenagers to seasoned professional musicians.
Familiar carols that are often associated with family gatherings and childhood Christmases will be performed, said the RDSO’s music director Claude Lapalme.
This includes Hark the Herald Angels Sing, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, The Holly and the Ivy, Winter Wonderland and Sleigh Ride.
The Red Deer Royals will join the RDSO for the first half of the program. The 60 musicians, age 11 to 21, come from 20 Central Alberta schools and perform under the direction of Michael Mann, who also teaches music and band at Camille J. Lerouge. The award-winning youth orchestra (and marching show band) was formed 47 years ago and has played traditional and contemporary music at competitions around the world — from Europe to Asia to Australia.
The RDSO and Royals will jointly tackle A Christmas Festival by Leroy Anderson and Fireside Christmas by Sammy Nestico. Since these are band arrangements, several orchestral musicians will be required to play parts originally written for different instruments. “Some of the violins will be playing flute parts”— which should keep things interesting, said Lapalme, with a chuckle.
The second half of the program will be handled by RDSO musicians alone. It features a 20-minute performance of a Christmas story written by Lucy Maud Montgomery, and narrated by Samantha Whelan Kotkas (who’s a trumpet player with the RDSO). A Christmas Inspiration tells of what happens when some young girls decide to reach out to a cantankerous old woman at Christmastime.
The story will be read along to a medley of international Christmas songs, arranged by Lapalme. Among them is the German carol Mary Went Through a Forest of Thorns, the old French carols Shepherds Let’s Assemble, and Between the Cow and Grey Donkey, the English Gloucestershire Wassail and the Latin Friendly Beasts.
Lapalme anticipates this musical blending of the familiar and the profound will help put audience members into the Christmas spirit.
Limited tickets to the concert are still available from the Black Knight Ticket Centre.