Top 5 reasons you don’t want to miss Alabama Symphony Orchestra’s Home for the Holidays on December 7

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It’s a holiday spectacular brimming with the spirit of the season. Check out Bham Now’s five top reasons to get tickets to Home for the Holidays. The performance, which is part of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra’s Red Diamond SuperPOPS series, takes place Friday, December 7, at 7 p.m. at the Samford University Wright Center. Tickets range from $27 to $62.

1. Local Stars Are Brightly Shining

“Nashville is called Music City, but Birmingham could easily be called that, too. There’s such an incredible range of talent in our community, and we enjoy showcasing that talent in the SuperPOPs series.” 

Christopher Confessore, conductor, Alabama Symphony Orchestra

Along with our amazing Alabama Symphony Orchestra, Home for the Holidays features the Birmingham-Southern College Hilltop Singers (an a capella chamber ensemble led by director Lester Seigel), Embellishments Handbell Ensemble and two incredible soloists. 

Alabama Symphony Orchestra Home for the Holidays
ASO’s Red Diamond SuperPOPS Home for the Holidays. Image submitted

While local to Birmingham, the featured soloists are no stranger to the world stage. Violinist Bethany Borg is the acclaimed musician behind the electronic-rock fusion project Nordik Fire. Birmingham native and vocalist Kristen Sharp toured nationally with Broadway shows from the ages of 16 to 23 before settling back home.

When Sharp first sang with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra for a SuperPOPS show two years ago, the power of the full orchestra behind her brought her to tears. 

“I get so moved, I don’t know what to do with myself. It always takes me a rehearsal with the orchestra to get myself together so I can get through the song.”

Kristen Sharp, vocal soloist

Sharp looks forward to performing with the orchestra again, as well as the Birmingham-Southern College Hilltop Singers in Home for the Holidays. She will sing “Home for the Holidays” and “Breath of Heaven,” an original Christmas song by Amy Grant. 

2. Arrangements … Just Like The Ones We Used to Know

Nostalgic factor: high. Photo via Pixabay

“You might recognize many of the arrangements as ones your parents or grandparents used to play on their record player or 8-track when you were young.”

Christopher Confessore, conductor, Alabama Symphony Orchestra

Whereas music is set in the classical repertoire (there’s only one Beethoven’s 5th Symphony, for example), traditional holiday music is all about the arrangement. And there are lots of options.

At Home for the Holidays, expect iconic arrangements of “Deck the Halls” and other tunes that you know and love. Plus, you’ll enjoy some new favorites in the mix, like a popular arrangement by the American rock band Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

Get your tickets today to Home for the Holidays, an Alabama Symphony Orchestra Red Diamond SuperPOPS event, on Friday, December 7.

Birmingham, Alabama, Home for the Holidays, Alabama Symphony Orchestra, holiday performance
Confessore chose a variety of arrangers to create a holiday musical performance everyone will love. Photo submitted

3. Rudolph, Boston Pops Style

Home for the Holidays brings an extra-special treat to Birmingham.

The Boston Pops Orchestra closely protects its iconic sound and typically does not release its arrangements for other orchestras to perform. But recently, they made a few available for general release, including “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”

“Even though this arrangement of ‘Rudolph’ has existed for probably 50 years, this will be the first time the Alabama Symphony Orchestra has been able to play it. So that’s exciting to me. It’s fun, very colorful and cute and jazzy.” 

Christopher Confessore, conductor, Alabama Symphony Orchestra

4. Sleigh Bells Ring. Are You Listening?

Well, handbells technically. But they will be ringing. Photo via Embellishments Handbell Ensemble’s Facebook page

The Embellishments Handbell Ensemble in Birmingham is a civic handbell group directed by Phyllis Kirk. Of the group’s 17 auditioned musicians, eight are directors of handbell choirs. So the group is truly the best of the best. At Home for the Holidays on December 7, the group performs “Glories Ring” and “Believe” from “The Polar Express.”

Confessore has done a similar collaboration with another orchestra and handbell choir before. “It made quite an impression,” he said.

Birmingham, Alabama, Embellishments Handbell Ensemble, Home for the Holidays, Alabama Symphony Orchestra, holiday performance
Embellishments Handbell Ensemble. Photo via embellishments.org

5. A Very Merry Sing-along

“Our world is a lot busier than it needs to be, and we’re all caught up in our own worlds and messes and successes. Home for the Holidays is a beautiful opportunity in our community to step out with our families, sit still for a moment and really get lost in art and music.”

Kristen Sharp, vocal soloist

And on that note, please feel free to get lost in the very last tune of the evening, “A Merry Christmas Sing-along,” featuring the whole cast. Making a joyful noise is what it’s all about. 

Details: Home for the Holidays

Where: Samford University Wright Center. 872 Montague Dr., Birmingham, AL 35229
When: Friday, December 7, 2018
Time: 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
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Musical Lineup

  1. Deck the Halls
  2. Home for the Holidays: Kristen Sharp, vocalist
  3. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
  4. Hanukkah Festival Overture
  5. ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas: BSC Hilltop Singers
  6. Of the Father’s Love Begotten: Bethany Borg, violin
  7. Sleigh Ride
  8. Glories Ring: Embellishments Handbell Ensemble
  9. “Believe” from “The Polar Express”: Embellishments Handbell Ensemble
  10. Breath of Heaven: Kristen Sharp, vocalist
  11. Do You Hear What I Hear?
  12. Noel, C’est L’Amour: BSC Hilltop Singers; Macey Rowland, soloist
  13. Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24: Bethany Borg, violin
  14. Winter Wonderland
  15. A Merry Christmas Sing-along

Got the Music in You?

Good, because Home for the Holidays is only the beginning. The Alabama Symphony Orchestra performs Handel’s Messiah on December 14 and Cheers! The New Year’s Eve Concert, another Red Diamond SuperPOPS special event, on December 31.

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