News From Terre Haute, Indiana

November 18, 2011

Get inspired with ‘Christmas at the Woods’


Special to the Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Make “Christmas at the Woods” your musical inspiration for the holidays.

The Sinfonietta Pops Orchestra concert will be performed in the beautiful Cecilian Auditorium at 3 p.m on Saturday at St. Mary of the Woods College. Refreshments will be provided by the Board of Directors of the Terre Haute Community Band at intermission. Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for students, and children under 10 are free.

Jessie Uchytil, a music student at The Woods, will perform the clarinet solos in the concert opener “In the Bleak Midwinter.” This carol is based on a poem by the English poet Christina Rossetti in 1872. It was published posthumously in Rossetti’s “Poetic Works” in 1904 and became a Christmas carol after it was set to music by Gustaf Holst and appeared in “The English Hymnal” in 1906.

“Fantasia on Greensleeves” gives the flute section an opportunity to shine. Richard and Barbara Cooper have played first and second flute in the Sinfonietta Pops Orchestra for a number of years. Barbara joined the orchestra when it organized in 1991 while Richard joined the group about 1993. Both enjoy the challenge of performing the solo sections of this hauntingly beautiful melody.

The “Toy Symphony” is a musical work with parts for toy instruments and is popularly played at Christmas. This piece calls on all the “toys” in the percussionists’ bag of tricks. “Santa at the Symphony” is a creative arrangement which combines elements of classical and romantic orchestral literature with 20th century pop Christmas songs.

“Winter Wonderland” and “Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!” are commonly considered Christmas songs, but the word Christmas never appears in the lyrics for either song. They certainly evoke the feeling of the holiday season, as does “Winter Sunshine,” a popular easy-listening tune from composer George Melachrino.

The cello is featured throughout the Chip Davis arrangement of “Stille Nacht” and is beautifully played by cellist Debbie Thompson. The miracle of “Silent Night” is that the words flowed from the imagination of a modest village priest, and the music was composed by a musician who was not known outside his village. There was no celebrity to sing at its premiere, and yet its message has crossed all borders and language barriers. The song even stopped World War I for a few hours in 1914.

For further information contact the Sinfonietta at (812) 535-6440.