Christmas tunes from around the world, from the sugary to the poignant, will be performed at the Red Deer Symphony Orchestra’s Strings for the Season concert.
To ensure everyone leaves infused with holiday cheer, music director Claude Lapalme plans to end the Dec. 3 show at the Red Deer Polytechnic Arts Centre with a sing-along of popular carols.
But first, listeners will be treated to the traditional English tune Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day, the German Still, Still, Still, and the Scottish Highland Holiday Medley — as performed by the Rosedale Valley Strings Youth Orchestra, which is featured in the first half of the concert program.
The young musicians will join strings players from the RDSO on everything from Tchaikovsky’s lighthearted March of the Toy Soldiers from the Nutcracker Suite to U.S. composer Morton Lauridsen’s O Magnum Mysterium.
The latter piece tends to bring people to tears, said the RDSO’s music director, Claude Lapalme. “It is so extraordinarily beautiful…”
Xmas Eve/Sarajevo, by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, will also be performed by the Rosedale Valley players. This medley of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen and the Ukrainian Shchedryk was written to pay homage to the cello player of Sarajevo, Vedran Smailovic, who played in the war-torn Bosnian capital during its siege in the early 1990s.
Associated with longings for peace amid terrors of war, Xmas Eve/Sarajevo highlights more poignant aspects of the holiday season, said Lapalme.
After intermission, a pared-down RDSO will perform a charming medley of French Christmas carols — particularly four adapted by Louis-Claude Daquin, the organist for Notre Dame Cathedral in 1755.
Daquin’s arrangements were so popular in their day that church officials swung open the doors of the packed cathedral to allow the wonderful music to be heard by throngs of people who were gathered outside, said Lapalme.
The RDSO music director has also woven some of his own carol adaptations into this background medley for when singer Helen Hassinger’s narrates a short Christmas story by Lucy Maude Montgomery.
The Christmas Surprise at Enderly Road will tug at people’s heartstrings, said Lapalme. But it will also offer a message that he believes was close to Montgomery’s heart: about the need to reach out with kindness to “outsiders,” including the poor, the lonely and the unlikable or misunderstood.
For more information about the 7:30 p.m. concert, please visit www.rdso.ca.