Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra recently performed a holiday concert in the Auditorium at Newark High School.
It was made possible, once again, through the collaboration of Newark Central School District and Greater Newark Chamber of Commerce. Organizers teamed up to bring RPO to Newark for the 17th consecutive year, which both Cynthia Briggs, NCSD Music Department leader and Kelley School instrumental music teacher, and guest conductor Richard Carsey acknowledged.
Briggs thanked sponsors who help to make the annual concert possible and at an affordable price.
“The concert was fantastic, and each year it is an amazing opportunity for our community to be able to attend a RPO holiday concert at such an affordable price,” Briggs said. “We are very grateful to Wegmans, Lyons National Bank, Walmart and other donors in our community who annually support of this event.”
Carsey, a conductor, arranger, pianist and actor, currently conducts the longest-running musical in history, “The Phantom Of The Opera,” on Broadway. He provided narratives that led into each selection, and explained to the audience why the orchestra performed medley of songs from “The Sound of Music.” Not typically associated with the holidays, Carsey explained that “The Sound Of Music” played on TV while he was growing up for many years on Christmas night.
Tenor Branch Woodman performed five solos: “We Need a Little Christmas,” ”Christmas Song,” “White Christmas” “What Child is This?” and “O Holy Night.” Woodman, who currently appears in the revival of “Hello, Dolly!” on Broadway, also narrated “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” and led the audience in a holiday sing-along.
“The annual RPO concert has become my official start of the holiday season,” Superintendent Matt Cook said. “This year’s show was spectacular. They are always amazing, but there was something about the song selection and the vocalist that was over the top in such a positive way this year.”
Newark Music Boosters sponsored a pasta dinner in the Cafeteria before the concert. NHS Jazz Band and Downbeat performed music in the Gymnasium.
Briggs acknowledged the work of volunteers who helped to make sure the event was successful and special to those in attendance.
“Thanks to all who helped with organization, hung a poster, worked the pasta dinner, the NHS Jazz Band, Downbeat and anyone else who offered any kind of support,” she said. “This is definitely a group effort, and I personally really appreciate all the hands that helped put this together.”
RPO plans to perform on Nov. 30, 2018, in the NHS Auditorium.