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Notes from Conductor Salazar

Welcome to tonight’s performance! I am thrilled you are here celebrating the wonder and magic of this holiday season. Isn’t it amazing how this time of year holds such magic for us all, regardless of age? For the concert this evening I have compiled some of the pieces that are very close to my heart. Many of us find ourselves overcommitted during the month of December, but tonight is an opportunity for us to stop, rest, and reflect on why this season is so meaningful to us.

Each of the selections this evening brings us different facets of the holiday spirit. We experience the delight and wonder of a child in the selections from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker. The whimsical and ear-catching sound of the celeste is sure to delight. I am always taken back to my childhood when I think of the excitement of a toy coming to life!

I think that a large part of the magic of Christmas is the nostalgia that a certain song can bring. When I hear The Christmas Song I have memories of my family and friends gathering together every year and carrying out our traditions. Growing up in South Texas, often I would dream of a White Christmas during our warm Decembers. I will never forget going back home one Christmas Eve in my undergrad years and staying up with my family all night watching a rare snowstorm for hours. On Christmas morning all the kids were more interested in running outside to play in the snow instead of opening presents!

And yet amidst the joy and celebration of the season, there is awe, wonder, and even mystery, as can be heard in our opening selection, Messiah, Prince of Peace. We are reminded in Rutter’s What Sweeter Music that this season brings the promise of things to come as the birth of the Christ child “turns all the patient ground to flowers”.

You will see carols interspersed throughout our program. Please join us in singing some of my favorites, especially Silent Night, as we send you into the night with the reflection that “Christ the Savior is born”. For this is the real magic of Christmas.

Peace, and love, and hope abide, this Christmastide,

Rolando Salazar