It's time once again for Northwest Indiana Symphony Orchestra to help stir up the holiday spirit in the Region.
The orchestra and music director/conductor Kirk Muspratt are set to help usher in the joyful season with the annual Holiday Pops concert Dec. 12 at Star Plaza Theatre in Merrillville.
"I'm looking to make this a spectacular, joyous community event," said Muspratt. adding that seeing people from the area gather together for the spirited concert is a wonderful feeling.
Muspratt said the seasonal pops concert attracts a diverse audience and is always a big draw for families. It's often a show many people bring young family members to as their first introduction to an orchestral production.
The maestro said the holiday pops concert definitely sets the tone in the area for the season. "If you want to have a really joyous and uplifting evening, with family, friends, coworkers, come out and join us for this show," Muspratt said.
For the conductor, the Christmas season officially starts for him with this concert.
On the playlist for the current holiday show, music fans can expect to hear a variety of tunes, from spiritual to contemporary.
Starring during the show will also be the Northwest Indiana Symphony Chorus under the direction of Nancy Menk and the Eisenhower Elementary School Choir.
Tunes from composers such as Handel, John Williams, Beethoven, Leroy Anderson, Richard Smallwood and others will be featured.
"One of the tunes, 'Total Praise' is a modern gospel selection," said Muspratt about Richard Smallwood's popular praise and worship-style composition.
The song "Ose Shalom" by John Leavitt, Muspratt said, is a Jewish prayer for peace tune.
Among other tunes on the playlist will be favorites such as "The First Noel," "O Come all Ye Faithful," "Amazing Grace," "Sleigh Ride," "Santa Claus is Coming to Town," "Jingle Bells," and others.
Another special tune, "Hymne Des Fraternises ("I'm Dreaming of Home,") Muspratt explained, is from a poignant movie called "Joyeux Noel."
"It was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film," Muspratt said, adding it's a touching account of soldiers during World War I and the Christmas truce of 1914 in which the troops begin singing to one another. "The movie is so well done. It talks about peace and accepting and understanding each other." The tune from the fillm, he said, is a perfect addition to the seasonal playlist.
During the Holiday Pops event, young audience members should always be on the lookout for the Jolly Old Elf.
"Santa will definitely be in the house," he said.
Muspratt said he's always been a fan of Christmas.
"And I love children so much," the maestro said, adding it's always great to see kids' faces light up during this magical holiday season.
According to Muspratt, "music is a gift," especially during this time of year.
FYI: Northwest Indiana Symphony Orchestra will present its Holiday Pops concert at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 12 at Star Plaza Theatre, Interstate 65 and U.S. 30, Merrillville. Tickets are $25 to $65. Student tickets cost $10. For more information, call (219) 836-0525 or visit NISOrchestra.org.