WESTFIELD, NJ—The Westfield Symphony Orchestra will celebrate the holiday season with two joyous performances—the seasonal concert “Home for the Holidays” and “Steppin’ Out,” a New Year’s Eve event.
“Home for the Holidays,” will be performed on December 1 at 7:00 p.m. at The First Presbyterian Church in Westfield.
“This is a program designed for the family including familiar sounds of the season in a variety of typical settings,” said Maestro David Wroe, WSO's music director and conductor. “Excerpts from The Nutcracker are coupled with music from Miracle on 34th Street. Traditional carols are coupled with Sleigh Ride and whole host of signature versions of familiar fare, including Manheim Steamroller's Silent Night and Irving Berlin's White Christmas."
The holiday concert will include the musical talents of the Franklin Elementary School Chorus. Fifty fifth graders will perform two pieces with the orchestra—Christmas Wishes and White Christmas.
The students are very excited to be performing with a professional orchestra, according to their music teacher, R. Brent Geyer. They will have rehearsed four times during recess to prepare the WSO pieces.
“They truly represent what makes Westfield a great community, and I'm honored that they'll have this opportunity to share their talents with a community that values and appreciates music and the fine arts,” said Geyer.
“We have had many successful collaborations with both the Westfield High and Middle School. But partnering with such young and budding talent is a particularly exciting proposition,” said Wroe. “I am convinced none of the students will have ever performed with a professional orchestra before. It will be a first for us both!”
He added, “This program also represents a showcase for other musical talent in our community. We will perform Raymond Wojcik's overture, Jubilee, in a tribute to the Westfield High School's Orchestra Director’s reputation throughout the country as a composer, conductor and arranger.”
Later in the month, on December 31 at 7:00 p.m., the WSO will present its annual New Year's Eve Special, “Steppin’ Out” at Westfield High School. There they’ll ring in the New Year with the very best of timeless show tunes featuring stars direct from the Broadway stage.
“Our audience, we believe, is looking for entertainment they can relate to and put them in a celebratory mood,” said Wroe. “We feel classics from our American Musical Theater tradition does just that. It is music which touches our emotions, expressing in a very different way concepts of love and joy, and using dance music as a vehicle to be uplifted and inspired—the perfect state to be in to bring in the New Year."
WSO is known for bringing the best talents to participate in its performances. “Our guest artists this year include Sandra Joseph, who was the longest running Christine on Broadway in Phantom of the Opera. Also, famed leading man Ron Bohmer will perform. He is presently on Broadway in The Fantastics,” said Wroe.
The WSO will pay tribute to Marvin Hamlisch that night. “Marvin, of course, composed such hits as A Chorus Line and The Way We Were, made famous in the movie with Robert Redford and Barbara Streisand,” said Wroe.
The Westfield Symphony Orchestra is currently celebrating its 30th Anniversary Season. The orchestra is one of the most prestigious regional symphonies in New Jersey.
“I think our success is linked to the electricity of our performances. They are compelling, of the highest professional quality and never the same. We are acutely focused on building an audience with ever-broadening tastes, so our programs attempt to match their eclectic, diverse and discerning tastes,” said Wroe.
While the symphony remains committed to the community of Westfield, this year it has undergone an unprecedented expansion to the Morris County area and, said Wroe, “We are developing a dynamic educational mentoring program with the Newark School District, and particularly The Newark Arts High School. This adds a new and welcome partner to our portfolio and allows us to impact yet another community with top class arts activities.”