Whereas last year’s seasonal affair was based around movie favorites, this year’s soiree, scheduled for Dec. 9 at the Sandusky State Theatre, is more of a typical Yuletide affair with one popular sing-along song after another.
Favorite holiday melodies will include “Greensleeves,” “Sleigh Ride” and orchestral excerpts from “Nutcracker” and “Polar Express.” Wintersteller returns from New York City to sing beloved Christmas songs, including “Christmas in My Hometown” by local songwriter Dan May, “Merry ChristmasBaby,” “Be a Santa” and “Believe” from “Polar Express.”
Want to go?
WHAT: Firelands Symphony Orchestra Holiday Pops Concert
WHEN: 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9
WHERE: Sandusky State Theatre, 107 Columbus Ave., Sandusky
COST: $27-$30 ($13 for students)
INFO: Call 419-626-1950 or visit www.sanduskystate.com
Funcoast talked to Firelands Symphony Orchestra Conductor Carl Topilow about the return of Winterseller and the featured chorus participation.
Funcoast: What a joy it must have been to realize someone of Ms. Wintersteller’s caliber was not only from the area but was interested in performing with the Firelands Symphony Orchestra?
Carl Topilow (CT): I think she’s terrific, from the first time I met her. The fact she’s from here makes it even better because she has such a vested interest in the area and it means a lot to her to perform with us. Not only is she a phenomenal singer but she’s just got the most positive attitude and great all around everything. She’s really a great performer and just a joy to work with, character and personality. You can’t put it into words. I was just listening to XM radio Broadway station and the announcer said, “That was Lynne Wintersteller, who is one of my favorite singers of all time.” So she’s very special.
Funcoast: What’s new for this year’s Firelands Symphony Orchestra holiday concert?
CT: This year we have the addition of three choruses that we haven’t had before with Sandusky, Perkins and St. Mary’s. That’s something new for us to have the high schools involved, which is really great for them to sing with a professional orchestra. I think that’s going to be a very special experience. It’s such a terrific repertoire for a chorus. Christmas is all about singing, really. It’s a great addition to any concert of this nature.
Funcoast: Looking at the program, what songs are your favorites?
CT: I always love the “Home Alone” songs by John Williams. There’s “Summer in My Memory” and “Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas.” I really enjoy the music a lot. And doing the “Hallejula Chorus” is very special. I’ll be playing some Hanukkah music on clarinet. It’s all fun stuff.
Funcoast: When it comes to creating a holiday show, what are the hurdles of making the setlist?
CT: For me, doing a Christmas program is really a combination of the familiar but plus enough new stuff. You have traditions yet you don’t want to do the same thing every Christmas concert. So for example, having Lynne back is great and she’s doing some new stuff with “The Night Before Christmas” but with a new set of text specifically for Ohio. So even though we have the tried and true stuff, we have different ways of presenting it. That’s the balance that I think is important.
Funcoast: Finally, when it comes to the annual Firelands Symphony Orchestra holiday concert., what do you hope people think about?
CT: I think just to help spread the cheer and the happiness of the season. It’s just something to feel good about while enjoying the holiday season and sharing.