Concert to feature Christmas classics

December 20, 2012 

"City sidewalks, busy sidewalks, dressed in holiday style, in the air there's a feeling of Christmas ... "

As the music floats through the air, I am transported to a living room in a house far away. A little girl is lying on the floor near the Christmas tree, resting on elbows with her chin in both hands. She is looking at lights, memorizing colors and shapes of the fragile ornaments, noticing how some designs are covered in glitter, others are painted on, while shiny bulbs reflect a distorted view of her face and the room behind her. She cannot decide which is her favorite.

And of course, I am counting the presents with my name on the tags.

Funny how a simple tune can evoke childhood impressions, and without warning.

Is it any wonder that the Mariposa Symphony Orchestra's holiday concert is my favorite?

On the program, says conductor Les Marsden, are some familiar tunes and a few less familiar but truly great compositions.

One of the most popular Christmas songs is "Sleigh Ride." Several original compositions of the same title have been written, but the most frequently performed and recorded version was penned by Leroy Anderson. He became known as the king of American symphonic pop music, largely due to a lengthy and successful career with Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops.

"Voices of Spring" by Johann Strauss Jr. will set the fingers and toes to tapping.

The lovely waltz, "Scènes Pittoresques" by French composer Jules Massenet, the overture to the opera "Bohemian Girl" by Englishman Michael Balfe, and Eric Coates' "London Suite" also will be performed.

Concluding the evening will be the "Sierra Christmas Party," an orchestral piece composed by Marsden for the MSO's first concert 10 years ago.

Tomorrow's performance begins at 7 p.m. Doors open at 6:30 in the Fiester Auditorium of Mariposa County High School, 5074 Old Highway North.

Admission is $6 for adults and $4 for students. Tickets are available at the Mariposa County Arts Council, 5009 Highway 140, until 5 p.m. today, and at the Mariposa County Visitors Center, 5158 Highway 140, today and tomorrow until 6 p.m.

For details visit www.arts-mariposa.org, or call the Arts Council office at (800) 903-9936 or (209) 966-3155.

Traditional Christmas carols and holiday songs are playing in grocery stores, the mall, offices and shops. They can also be heard in churches, school auditoriums, music studios, on theater stages, even street corners. Don't miss an opportunity to listen to musicians and carolers at this "most wonderful time of the year."

Debbie Croft writes about life in the foothill communities. She can be reached at composed@tds.net.

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