WESTFIELD, NJ — The New Jersey Festival Orchestra will kick off the holiday season next month with its ever-popular holiday program featuring special guest choruses from Westfield’s Franklin and McKinley Elementary schools. The children will sing contemporary holiday favorites and music from “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

Featured artists from MPAC’s Performing Arts School will perform diverse holiday and Broadway classics, as well.

“Home for the Holidays” on Saturday, Dec. 5 at 7 p.m. at the Presbyterian Church of Westfield, will be a celebration of popular holiday favorites, according to Music Director and Conductor David Wroe, with sing-alongs for the audience as well as traditional carols, holiday brass and signature versions of familiar fare including “Carol of the Bells and Leroy Anderson’s “Sleigh Ride.”                       

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Wroe works with local children for these concerts, “because they are both our present and our future,” he said. “They are the glue that knits this community together. Celebrating and nurturing their talents and personalities is at the essence of the culture of this time of the year. It’s a time of loving, giving, supporting and showcasing. What better elements of the community could we include in the area's premier professional celebration of the holidays that our children?”

It’s a true family holiday concert, Wroe said.

 “It includes numerous carols that children aged 5 and up will be familiar with and adore,” he explained. “The kids will recognize the music from Polar Express, and mom and dad will hum along to the dance music of West Side Story, the ‘Can Can,’ the Tango from ‘Scent of a Woman’ and many more. Every child who plays the piano will spot"’Claire de Lune’ and there will not be a dry eye in the house as we close with the full audience singing ‘Auld Lang Syne.’"

Wroe said that he programed this presentation attempts to give delightful musical “gifts” to the audience, hoping that each one will thrill as they are “unwrapped  upon the ear.

 “The joy and pleasure for us, the musicians, is the positive reaction from the audience once the musical gift has been received, which is always forthcoming at this concert due to the familiarity and attractive nature of each selection,” Wroe said. “Additionally, we not only progress from musical hit to hit, but another favorite element is the overall ambiance over a period of two hours created by a packed house congregating to celebrate such a special time of the year. The ambience is warm, celebratory, and both a visual and aural spectacle, enhanced by a richly and dramatically decorated venue. So my favorite moment starts at the drop of the down beat.”

The concert is made possible in part by a Union County Heart (History, Education and Arts Reaching Thousands) Grant and support from The Westfield Foundation.

Tickets prices range from $26 to $75 for adults. There is a special discount price of $13 for students K-12. To purchase tickets. Order tickets online at www.njfestivalorchestra.org or call 908-232-9400.

Tickets are also available now for the orchestra’s popular New Year’s Eve “Dancing the Blues Away” celebration in Westfield, a cabaret-style revue of Broadway classics featuring Jennifer Sheehan and other renowned guest vocalists direct from the Broadway stage. For more information, click here.

TAP into Westfield is a proud media sponsor of the New Jersey Festival Orchestra