The tradition continues with the Salina Symphony Christmas Festival
By GARY DEMUTH
The Salina Symphony had a blue Christmas last year.
The orchestra’s annual Christmas festival, a decades-long community tradition, had to be canceled in 2020 due to restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
This year the festival is back and Salina Symphony Executive Director Adrienne Allen promises the show will be a memorable holiday treat for the whole family.
“We are excited to be able to bring the Christmas festival back to the community after not being able to present it in 2020,” she said.
This year’s festival, she said, “will feature a nice variety of uplifting music, from classical pieces to traditional Christmas carols to the festive and upbeat songs of the season.”
The Salina Symphony Christmas Festival will be held December 11 at 7 p.m. and December 12 at 4 p.m. at the Stiefel Theater for the Performing Arts, 151 S. Santa Fe.
Local dancers from the Iron Street Dance Company of the Salina Community Theater and the Tamara Howe School of Dance, as well as the Kansas Wesleyan University Chorale and the Salina Youth Choir, are scheduled to perform with the Salina Symphony.
A community choir, organized by Salinan Bill Tuzicka, will also perform.
And of course, spectators will be treated to a special appearance by Santa Claus himself.
Allen said she was grateful and privileged to be able to partner with other local organizations to put on such a huge and complex show for the community.
“There is something almost magical that happens when almost 200 musicians, singers and dancers come together to perform,” she said.
The festival program will include selections from Sibelius’ “Karelia Suite” and Humperdinck’s “Hansel and Gretel”, performed by the Salina Symphony under the direction of conductor and interim music director David Littrell.
The community choir will perform “Candlelight Carol” by John Rutter, “A Christmas Festival” by Leroy Anderson and the traditional ballad “Mary, Did You Know?
KWU Chorale’s selections will include “Everywhere Christmas Tonight” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”. The Salina Youth Choir will sing “Winter Lullaby” and “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas”.
The Iron Street Dance Company will dance to “Wizards in Winter” and “Silver Bells”, and the Tamara Howe School of Dance will perform songs from “Swan Lake” and traditional “Greensleeves”.
Megan Coberly, director of education at the Salina Community Theater, said the Christmas festival is always a special occasion every year “because many different groups in the community are able to create something really special together.”
“The Christmas festival brings together two different art forms, dance and music, and creates a beautifully woven product,” she said. “We rehearse with recordings as we learn the dances, but it’s when we go into technical week and dance with the orchestra playing behind us that the magic really begins. “
Coberly said it was great for the dancers to be exposed to live orchestral music and for the orchestra to watch such a variety of dance choreography.
“Everyone learns,” she says.
The two dance companies will team up for a performance of “We Need a Little Christmas”. Coberly said collaborating for the Christmas festival is a wonderful experience for both dance ensembles.
“I always love watching the Iron Street Dance Company perform with the dancers from Tamara Howe,” she said. “We always make sure to collaborate on one piece. This year, it’s a routine that will rock everyone in the Christmas spirit!
Family holiday tradition
The festival will conclude with the Salina Symphony, choirs and dancers combining to perform “All is Well” by Michael W. Smith and Wayne Kirkpatrick and the rousing vocals “Sleigh Ride”.
Allen said she felt privileged that the Salina Symphony Christmas Festival had become part of the holiday tradition of many families.
“The Christmas festival is our gift to the community,” she said. “We are always looking forward to celebrating the meaningful season with our customers, and even more so this year. “
Tickets for the festival can be purchased at the Stiefel Theater box office by calling 827-1998 or online at the Salina Symphony website at www.salinasymphony.org. Single entry tickets are $ 29 and $ 39 for adults and $ 19 for students / children.
Please visit the Salina Symphony website for information on the Stiefel Theater COVID-19 policies.