The Paducah Symphony Orchestra performs "A Christmas Celebration" at the Luther F. Carson Four Rivers Center last December. This year's program will include new arrangements of popular Christmas music, as well as more traditional fare.
Reggie Lafaye has been playing the saxophone for 50 years, and performs frequently in Paducah. He will make a guest appearance at the Paducah Symphony Orchestra and Choruses' 'A Christmas Celebration' to perform an original orchestration of the jazz hit ''Round Midnight.'
The Paducah Symphony Orchestra and Choruses will put its own lighthearted twist on its annual performance of “A Christmas Celebration” this Saturday.
Along with traditional classics, such as the “Hallelujah” chorus from Handel’s “Messiah,” artistic director and conductor Raffaele Ponti added lighter fare to this year’s program.
“I’ve tried to make it a little more of a pops type of celebration,” he said. “I’ve kept the tradition in place, but added some nice surprises.”
One highlight will be a cameo appearance by Paducah-based saxophonist Reggie Lafaye, who collaborated with Ponti and pianist Keith Brown to orchestrate a version of “‘Round Midnight,” a popular jazz song by Thelonius Monk, for the symphony.
“It’s an original orchestration, so it’s going to be like a premiere. I’m very excited about it, because they wrote it for the orchestra ... with our personnel in mind,” Ponti said.
Ponti added that those who are familiar with Lafaye — he recently performed in the Telethon and appears regularly at Ristorante di Fratelli — might be surprised to see him in a different element.
“I think it’s going to be a wonderful treat,” Ponti said.
Lafaye said he is looking forward to performing with a full orchestra, but is even more interested to hear the rest of the program.
“It’s not so much about what I plan to do — share my soul through music — but ... to sit down and see the work of Raffaele (Ponti) and the orchestra, that always chilled me,” Lafaye said.
The Christmas Celebration will feature the complete company of the PSO, as well as the youth and adult choruses, led by director of choruses Bradley Almquist and youth chorus director Amy Aucoin. Members of the Murray State Choir will also participate.
“We always see the symphony and the choruses doing their own thing. ... This is when people can really see the full complement of the children’s and adult choruses joining us,” Ponti said.
The audience will also have a chance to participate at intermission, where they will cast monetary votes to hear the youth chorus perform either “Let it Snow, Let it Snow” or “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”
“I think the audience will be very pleased with the concert. It’s become quite a tradition for folks,” PSO executive director Daniel Sene said.
Sene said that even those who have seen previous Christmas performances should be in for a few surprises.
“It’s not just a bunch of things that we’ve done before. ... You really have to mix it up, year after year, you can’t have the same arrangements of some of those familiar classics,” he said.
The performance will be held at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in the Luther F. Carson Four Rivers Center, 100 Kentucky Ave. Tickets are available online at www.paducahsymphony.org, or by calling the box office at 270-444-0065.
Contact Laurel Black, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8641.
Want to go?
What: The Paducah Symphony Orchestra and choirs in “A Christmas Celebration”
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8.
Where: The Luther F. Carson Four Rivers Center, 100 Kentucky Ave.
Tickets are available online at www.paducahsymphony.org, or by calling the box office at 270-444-0065