By Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal
Tupelo Symphony Orchestra fans, rejoice: You’ll have two very different chances to celebrate Christmas with the orchestra this year.
The orchestra will perform its annual holiday show on Saturday with the Itawamba Community College Chorus and the TSO Children’s Chorus at the Civic Auditorium. The next day the orchestra will travel to Oxford, to perform in the “Sounds of the Season” concert with Mary Donnelly Haskell, Guy Hovis, Miss America Teresa Scalan and actress Doris Roberts at the Ford Center.
Both shows will highlight the best in holiday music, said TSO conductor Steven Byess.
“The holiday season is collaborative and celebratory, so that’s a great model for these shows,” he said.
‘Christmas with the TSO’
The Tupelo show will feature classic holiday numbers like “Joy to the World” and “The First Noel,” as well as lesser-known tunes like “Whence is That Goodly Fragrance Flowing?” and “The Blessed Son.”
“There is a variety of holiday music of great contrast and diversity. There’s fast and slow, uplifting and more serious, sacred and secular,” Byess said. “There’s something for everybody.”
The Tupelo Symphony Orchestra Children’s Chorus, directed by Monica Roden Spencer, features children from across the Northeast Mississippi region.
“These kids work hard,” she said. “They practice for hours leading up to the performance.”
There will be a pre-concert dinner at the Link Centre beginning at 5 p.m. Saturday.
‘Sounds of the Season’
The show in Oxford, Byess said, “is really completely different than the program we have here.”
There will be holiday music, for sure, but the stars of the show will be singers Hovis and Haskell, and host Roberts and Miss America.
Haskell said she and Hovis will sing Christmas songs, either as solos or duets, and Roberts and Scalan will share Christmas memories. Songs include “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” “Christmas Song” and “Winter Wonderland.”
“We’ve got a nice balance of the original and the traditional Christmas songs, but also some more new holiday songs,” Haskell said. Both singers will have Christmas CDs for sale at the show.
Both the Saturday and Sunday shows will feature the Mannheim Steamroller version of “Silent Night,” called “Stille Nacht,” a version Byess said is a local favorite.
Hovis said the concerts are special because of the music.
“They’re such wonderful songs, and we only sing them at this time of year. You don’t sing them all year long, or they wouldn’t be so special,” he said. “Music really does make this season as special as it is, because music touches people in a different way than the spoken word.”
‘Christmas With The TSO’
Who: Tupelo Symphony Orchestra with the Itawamba Community College Chorus and Tupelo Symphony Orchestra Children’s Chorus
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Civic Auditorium, Tupelo
Cost: $20/adults, $10/students
Info: (662) 842-8433
Extra: There will be a pre-concert dinner at the Link Centre Reception Hall from 5-7 p.m. Cost is $35/person.
‘Sounds of the Season’
Who: Tupelo Symphony Orchestra with Guy Hovis, Mary Donnelly Haskell, Doris Roberts and Miss America Teresa Scalan
When: 3 p.m. Sunday
Where: Ford Center on the Ole Miss campus in Oxford
Cost: $37/orchestra, $34/mezzanine, $31/balcony, $39/box seat tier 1, $37/box seat tier 2
Info: fordcenter.org or (662) 915-2787