Saturday, December 12, 2009

Get set for Christmas with the Niagara Symphony!

I don't know if you have had this problem this year, but I have not really been in the full-scale Christmas spirit yet. Perhaps it's the weather; perhaps it is the poor economy this year. Whatever it is, I am slow getting that warm glow that comes with feeling good about hearing Christmas carols again and seeing all the lights and decorations. Mind you, nothing takes away the Christmas spirit for many of us more than a trip to the mall, which I did last Saturday. All those people rushing about, not necessarily thinking about "goodwill towards men." All of which means for some of us, shopping online from the comfort of home has many advantages at this time of year.

Of course, I would be greatly amiss if I didn't take this golden opportunity to plug my own online music business, A Web of Fine Music, at I have lots of great Christmas music in stock, both old and new, and I will be writing about some of my favourites in the coming days. I will also have a good selection of these seasonal favourites on hand this weekend when the Niagara Symphony presents their second Pops! concert of the season, titled Yes Virginia, There is a Santa Claus.

This is usually when the music weaves its magic and I finally begin to feel the Christmas spirit overtake me, and I suspect tonight and tomorrow afternoon will see the return of that absent feeling. The Niagara Symphony always presents a great Christmas concert, and this year promises to be no different. As the conductor search continues, we welcome back Timothy Hankewich to the podium for his second and last appearance this season, leading the orchestra and special guests The Mantini Sisters through a slew of holiday classics, including the ubiquitous sing-alongs with the audience members.

On the program this weekend will be one of my favourite orchestral holiday classics, Leroy Anderson's A Christmas Festival. I remember our high school band performing this every year at our Christmas concert at Neil McNeil High School in east-end Toronto, but I suspect this performance will be a little more, um, polished than we were way back when. I happen to have copies of the Festival to sell this weekend, by the way; a newer recording with Leonard Slatkin conducting the BBC Concert Orchestra, and the classic 1959 recording with Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops. Also on the program will be Hankewich's own interpretation of "Yes Virginia, There is a Santa Claus" and some other Hankewwich creations.

The Mantini Sisters will be special guest performers, and they are tremendously popular around these parts for their music and great charitable work with Wellspring Niagara. So all in all, it promises to be a great kick off to your holiday celebrations, but keep in mind, the Christmas concert always sells well; in fact the Sunday afternoon performance is already sold out. Some seats are still available for the Saturday evening show, tonight, but I wouldn't wait too long to book them. You can call the Brock box office at 905-688-5550, ext. 3257, or take your chances at the door this evening.

Now, where's my infamous Santa hat?

December 12th, 2009.

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