The Williamsport Area High School music department will present its 23rd annual holiday celebration on at 3 p.m. Sunday in the Williamsport Area High School Auditorium. Doors will open at 2:15 p.m.
The program is presented as a musical gift to the community and will feature the talents of more than 400 student musicians. The event will be filled with festive selections and, at about one hour in length, is excellent family entertainment.
The concert will begin with the Millionaire Concert Band presenting "Santa's Journey - Bringing Joy to the World." They will be followed by the Strolling Strings performing an arrangement of "My Favorite Things" as arranged by local music luminary Tom Shellenberger.
The high school's combined choirs will perform "White Christmas," an Irving Berlin song reminiscing about an old-fashioned Christmas setting and "African Noel," a traditional carol set with the sounds, rhythms and percussion of the African continent.
"Hanerot Halalu," an ancient chant mentioned in the Talmud also will be performed. It reminds us of the sacred nature of the Hanukkah lights that are lit to commemorate and publicize the Hanukkah miracles. The song states that our sole intent in kindling Hanukkah lights is to publicize the miracle, and thus it is forbidden to use the lights in any other way. Another featured tune, "Winter Wonderland," which is a winter song, is popularly treated as a Christmastime pop standard, and was written in 1934 by Felix Bernard (music) and Richard B. Smith (lyricist). Through the decades, "Winter Wonderland" has been recorded by more than 150 different artists.
Two of the high school's extra-curricular instrumental ensembles will be featured performing popular favorites.
The Millionaire Big Band will swing to the holiday classic made famous by Gene Autry, "Here Comes Santa Claus" and change the pace with "What a Wonderful World," best known through the recording by Louis Armstrong. The Millionaire String Quartet will liven the mood with the Leroy Anderson holiday staple "Sleigh Ride."
Williamsport Area High School has two select extra-curricular choral ensembles, Les Chanteuse and GQ, that can be found throughout the community this time of year. A prominent December performance this year included The White House last Saturday. Joining forces to form the Millionaire Singers, they will perform the hauntingly beautiful "Coventry Carol" and "Ding Dong Merrily on High," a carol that first appeared as a 16th century secular dance tune that now includes lyrics from English composer George Woodward.
The WAHS Orchestra will begin with full string ensemble performances of "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year" and a Chip Davis, Manheim Steamroller arrangement of "Away in a Manger." They will then join the combined choirs in "Veni, Veni" that will be followed by a symphonic orchestra performance of "Wizards in Winter" in an arrangement right out of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra stage show. The program will conclude with the combined bands, strings, choirs and audience joining in for a holiday sing-a-long.
For those unable to attend in person, the performance will be available to friends and family, around the world, through a live stream that can be accessed through the wasd.org homepage. The performance also will be telecast on the local Comcast cable network at 7 p.m. Dec. 23, 24 and 26 as well as all Christmas Day, Dec. 25.
Admission to the concert is free. For additional information please contact the Williamsport Area School District Music Department office at 327-5500, ext. 33517.