Composer Leroy Anderson, who wrote the music for the Christmas-classic Sleigh Ride, summed up music’s singular role during the holidays: “Music has the most special and the most personal place in our lives,” Anderson told WTIC radio. “There’s a variety…that you can’t get with just decoration, you can’t get with just a spoken word, because music has a wider range of expression.”
Artis—Naples’ holiday music lineup is dedicated to this seasonal variety of expression. The festivities began this past month with the symphonic-pop of Mannheim Steamroller, easily the best-selling holiday music artist in the US. And saxophonist Dave Koz delivered some smooth swing during his ensemble’s Christmas concert on November 28.
These concerts were an appropriate prelude to the blend of traditional and contemporary performances coming in December.
“We are thrilled about the exciting and varied programs during our upcoming holiday season,” says David Filner, Vice President, Artistic Operations. “Between Storm Large and our Naples Philharmonic Chorus and Children’s Chorus during Holiday Pops, to the luscious voices of the Ten Tenors and our fabulous New Year’s Eve concert, featuring Andrey and the Naples Philharmonic, we have something for everyone this holiday season.”
Led by Assistant Conductor Yaniv Segal, the program will feature music from three Baroque masters—Vivaldi, Bach and Handel. Handel’s Messiah, one of the most revered and frequently performed choral works in Western music, will come dramatically to life with the 100-voice chorus. The December 3 performance will be held at the First Presbyterian Church in Bonita Springs.
Marie and her Nutcracker Prince navigate a winter wonderland when the Miami City Ballet joins the Naples Philharmonic for three performances of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™, December 5-6. Set to Tchaikovsky’s enchanting score performed by the full orchestra, this lavish staging features extravagant costumes and scenery.
As the final shopping days loom before the 25th, Holiday Pops provides respite from long lines at the mall. This patron favorite stars singer/songwriter/actor Storm Large, the Naples Philharmonic, Chorus and Youth Chorus in an all-new program of holiday favorites and new classics.
In her first appearance with the Naples Philharmonic, Large is enthused by the challenge posed by performing with a full orchestra.
“It’s a challenge to go from a rock ‘n’ roll situation, (a fourpiece combo), to a 70-80 piece orchestra, only in an energetic sense,” says Large. “I have to grow energetically to surf the symphonic wave—not louder, just bigger. I probably sing technically louder with a rock band. But the challenge brings the reward. I love the full-body effect of that many instruments breathing and releasing all around me, lifting and pushing all of us around in (their) sweet current.”
Finding the balance between making holiday classics her own while maintaining their original spirit is no problem for the vocalist.
“I am a total Christmas dork, so I just try to keep the spirit of what I love about the season in any of the songs I do,” says Large. “Joy, mirth, silliness, hope—to me, Christmastime is to remember the magic that dazzled us as kids— not to forget our worries, but to bring our attention back to love, family and lightheartedness.”
The Ten Tenors premiere their new show, Home for the Holidays, when they arrive to Hayes Hall on December 29.
Australia’s opera stars will share classic holiday songs from their new album, Our Christmas Wish, with a few extra surprises.
“We have also included non-holiday favorites that will make your patrons want to get up and dance in their seats. And without giving too much away…when was the last time it snowed in Naples?” says the ensemble.