LEOMINSTER — Step into Leominster City Hall’s Tata Auditorium, adorned with Christmas trees as a festive backdrop, and listen to the holiday sounds of the Leominster Colonial Band as they perform their 32nd Annual Christmas Concert.
The concert will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 11, in Tata Auditorium, 25 West St. Leominster. The show is free to the community.
Conductor Steven Piermarini will present concert classics, Christmas music and pop favorites.
“This is the 32nd Christmas performance we’ve given, and I know it sounds cliche, but I’m as excited to do this one as I was with the very first,” Piermarini said. “And that’s because of the challenge involved in bringing something new and different to the audience. Believe it or not, I hear from people all over the world who watch this concert over (Leominster Access Television’s) website. I feel a real responsibility to give them and the people in the audience something worthwhile.”
The concert will start with the “Belle of the Ball” by Leroy Anderson, Cambridge native and legendary composer of light classics for the Boston Pops.
Principal horn player Alan Ventura will be the featured soloist on Camille Saint-Saens’ Morceau de Concert (Op. 94), which Piermarini characterizes as “an underrated gem”. A resident of West Townsend, Ventura earned his Bachelor of Arts from UMass Lowell and has been a featured performer with orchestras and theater groups for many years.
The 150th anniversary of the birth of British composer Ralph Vaughan Williams will be marked by a performance of his Folk Song Suite for band, composed in 1922.
The band will present a Stevie Wonder medley to include “Sir Duke”, “Isn’t She Lovely”, “Called To Say I Love You” and “You are the Sunshine of my Life,” and a medley from the delightful 1956 musical “Li’l Abner” by Johnny Mercer and Gene de Paul.
For the first time, the band will present some of the music from Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition,” the Promenade and Great Gate of Kiev, to mark the 100th anniversary of the world premiere of Ravel’s orchestration.
Christmas music will be in abundance for the youth of all ages in the second half of the show, including “Jingo Jango”, “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day”, “Two Christmas Miniatures”, and “I Wonder as I Wander”.
“We’ll also be saluting Edward J. Madden, with a performance of his ‘Fantasy on a Bell Carol’, which he arranged in 1962, helping to propel ‘Ukranian Bell Carol’, on which it’s based, to international recognition,” said Piermarini.
Madden, who has written and conducted our band, passed away on Oct. 19 at his home in Arizona.
The band will mark the bicentennial of the birth of Jingle Bells’ composer James Pierpont with a “Jingle Bells Rhapsody” and close the concert with Robert Sheldon’s “A Most Wonderful Christmas”, a beautiful medley which includes “Winter Wonderland”, “I’ll Be Home for Christmas”, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and “It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year”.
Santa Claus will visit with all the children and families and refreshments will be served.
Sponsors for this year’s concert are AIS, the Leominster Cultural Council, the Music Performance Trust Fund, and the City of Leominster.
“I have fond memories of growing up in Leominster and all of the excitement around Christmas each year,” Piermarini said. “This concert, along with the Festival of Trees, has become part of the Christmas tradition for so many families now. We take great pride in being part of it. These are the things that memories are made of, and that the kids of today will talk about two generations from now. I believe that art and culture make any city better – who wouldn’t want to be a part of that!”