Juneau Symphony prepares to share holiday cheer

Holiday music will float through the air at Thunder Mountain High School this weekend as the Juneau Symphony performs its second annual holiday cheer concert.

In a season known for togetherness and traditions, Franz Felkl, concertmaster and artistic director, said he hopes the concert starts a new holiday tradition for Juneau’s families.

“I hope it becomes a staple,” he said.

Franz Felkl, concertmaster and artistic director for the Juneau Symphony rehearses with the strings on Dec. 7. (Dana Zigmund/Juneau Empire)

Franz Felkl, concertmaster and artistic director for the Juneau Symphony rehearses with the strings on Dec. 7. (Dana Zigmund/Juneau Empire)

The Sitka Fine Art Camp’s Holiday Brass and the Juneau Symphony brass and string ensembles will also perform, and the Vox Borealis Victorian Carolers will offer pre-concert and intermission performances.

Felkl said the holiday music canon offers several options that help concert-goers get into a festive mood without resorting to stand-bys that can feel stale by mid-December.

“We’ve all heard the classics. So, you’re thinking, ‘what does the audience enjoy? What can I incorporate that’s different,’” he said in a Tuesday morning phone interview with the Empire. “I’ve added a more classical repertoire.”

[Making beautiful music together]

Felkl said he expects audiences will appreciate some “milder and less familiar” pieces by Ralph Vaughan Williams, an English composer, and the inclusion of Antonio Vivaldi’s Winter concerto from “The Four Seasons.”

He said the traditional jazzy selections of holiday favorites, French holiday music and a selection from ‘The Nutcracker’ round out the program.

On Tuesday morning, Charlotte Truitt, executive director of the symphony, said that ticket sales had been brisk but that some are still available at juneausymphony.org. All audience members will be required to wear masks and present proof of vaccination to enter the venue.

The symphony’s first in-person concert in almost two years took place in October at St. Paul’s Catholic Church in the Mendenhall Valley to a sold-out crowd.

[Juneau Symphony names new director]

The holiday cheer concert is the second in-person concert since resuming in-person shows in October and the second show of the symphony’s 59th season, fittingly called “Together Again” — a nod to the six virtual concerts the group performed as COVID-19 restrictions shuttered concerts and other live entertainment.

Franz Felkl, concertmaster and artistic director for the Juneau Symphony provides direction during a rehearsal at Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé on Dec. 7. (Dana Zigmund/Juneau Empire)

Franz Felkl, concertmaster and artistic director for the Juneau Symphony provides direction during a rehearsal at Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé on Dec. 7. (Dana Zigmund/Juneau Empire)

Know & Go

What: The Juneau Symphony Holiday Cheer concert in collaboration with Sitka Fine Arts Camp’s Holiday Brass

When: Saturday. Dec. 11 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 12 at 3 p.m.

Where: Thunder Mountain High School

Admission: Ticket costs range from $15 to $30, according to the symphony’s website. All audience members must provide proof of vaccination and organizers will assign socially distanced seating. Visit juneausymphony.org to purchase tickets.

• Contact reporter Dana Zigmund at dana.zigmund@juneauempire.com or 907-308-4891.

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