With the holidays upon us, the Raleigh community enjoyed a wonderful celebration from the collaborative efforts of the North Carolina Symphony, Capital City Girls Choir, vocalists Brandi Q Hancock and Jason McKinney, and host David Crabtree. With such variety in the program as the Italian lullaby “Gesu Bambino,” THE Russian Children’s Suite Winter Bonfire, and contemporary numbers like “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” this concert offered something for everyone to enjoy. The audience thrilled for Christmas favorites like “Carol of the Bells,” “The Trumpet Shall Sound” from Handel’s Messiah, Tchaikovsky’s “Waltz of the Snowflakes” from The Nutcracker, and a final Christmas sing-a-long during which Santa himself made an appearance to say hello! All of the holidays were well represented through compositions by the Symphony’s own bass trombonist Terry Mizesko and Resident Conductor William Henry Curry, who wielded the baton for this concert as well. Mizesko’s “Hatikvah” and Curry’s “The Kwanzaa Song” enriched a diverse program representing the many holiday celebrations celebrated across the nation and world.

Apart from the diverse program, the concert boasted diverse instrumentation as well. One of the joys of Christmas orchestration is that it offers opportunities to utilize any instrument in an orchestra, providing a beautiful range to the presentation. Under the capable baton of maestro William Henry Curry, from the grand brass sounds of “Hark the Herald Trumpets Sing,” to the rapid strings of “Carol of the Bells,” to exhilarating percussion in “Brazilian Sleigh Bells,” the North Carolina Symphony’s members brought all their talents to this performance.

The Capital City Girls Choir, led by Dr. Fran Page of Meredith College, added the sweet voices of children without which no Christmas season is complete. Their blend and unity presented sounds of vocalists beyond their years as they sang from the choir loft high in Meymandi Concert Hall. The full soprano of Brandi Q Hancock, a Shaw University alumna, and the expressive baritone of Jason McKinney, a product of the North Carolina School of the Arts (now the UNCSA), provided perfectly well rounded performance of classic and contemporary holiday music to welcome the Christmas season. And WRAL’s distinguished newscaster David Crabtree provided the icing on the holiday cake.

The North Carolina Symphony continues its season with a New Year’s celebration on December 31st with New Year’s in Vienna. For details, click here.