Homecomings, ‘12 Days of Christmas’ and a sing-along on tap

Holiday Favorites Classics Concert takes place Saturday

Steve Schermer

Steve Schermer

PORT ANGELES — These 100 musicians — singers, players, two conductors — find a lot to celebrate this December.

In the traditional Holiday Favorites & Classics Concert on Saturday, the Port Angeles Symphony Orchestra and Chorus will revel in live music, and in the musicians who, after growing up here, have gone on to make a life in the performing arts.

As always, the 7:30 p.m. concert and the 10 a.m. public rehearsal will take place at the Port Angeles High School Performing Arts Center, 304 E. Park Ave.

Tickets to Holiday Favorites & Classics are $15 for students and seniors, $18 general and $25 to $35 for reserved premium seats at brownpapertickets.com, Port Book and News in Port Angeles and via the Port Angeles Symphony office at 360-457-5579.

Admission to the Saturday morning rehearsal is $7. And like the evening concert, youths 16 and younger are admitted free with a paying adult.

This year’s program roams across the mood map, ranging from Sibelius’ “Finlandia” and Bach’s “Wachet auf” cantata to the 35-voice chorus’ rendition of “A Musicological 12 Days of Christmas.”

Port Townsend’s Anne Krabill, principal oboist, will offer “Gabriel’s Oboe,” and Port Townsend vocalists Sarah Moran and Gregory Lewis will sing a duet within the Bach cantata, which also features Krabill.

Evening concert-goers are invited to come early for Pasternack’s brief chat about the program at 6:40 p.m.

Double-bassist Steve Schermer is another of the featured soloists in Saturday’s performance. Alongside violinist James Garlick — like him a Port Angeles High graduate — Schermer will play Bottesini’s “Gran Duo,” a piece he calls “not exactly holiday-themed, but definitely holiday-spirited.”

Schermer knows his holiday music, as he’s in his 30th season of “The Nutcracker” with the Pacific Northwest Ballet Orchestra in Seattle. This is his busiest time of year by far, but Schermer relishes the chance to return to his alma mater.

The double-bassist, who chose his instrument back at Stevens Middle School, now teaches at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma along with performing with orchestras around the region.

The music program back at Port Angeles High School “has just been incredible,” and rare for a community of this size, said Schermer, who graduated in 1981.

He remembers not caring much for the sound of the violin when he heard it as a kid. When music teacher Richard McCoy said, “OK, we need some bass players,” his hand shot up.

Schermer went on to Eastern Washington University for his bachelor’s and to Boston’s New England Conservatory for his master’s in music.

“I’m a great admirer of Steve’s musicianship — and he is a great guy,” said Jonathan Pasternack, the Port Angeles Symphony’s conductor and music director.

For him, performing with the chorus, the orchestra and the soloists means a joyful end to the year.

Garlick, a 2002 graduate of Port Angeles High, is making the trip here during a busy time in his life in Minneapolis, where he performs with the Minnesota Orchestra.

Looking at the holiday concert program, he remarked on a particular piece: Corelli’s Christmas Concerto. Twenty years ago, when he and classmate Emily James were music-stand partners, they played the piece.

They’ve been together ever since. James works in the other twin city of St. Paul, a professor of literature at the University of St. Thomas.

At Saturday’s concert, the people in the audience will have their chance to join in the music-making.

The Port Angeles Symphony Chorus, with conductor Joy Lingerfelt, will lead the traditional singalong — “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” “It Came upon a Midnight Clear” and other carols — near the end of the evening.

Then comes the finale, Strauss’ “Thunder and Lightning Polka,” which to Pasternack has a new year’s-celebratory feeling.

“Bring your enthusiasm. … The singalong has a splendid arrangement by John Finnegan,” added the maestro.

“He weaves the tunes together nicely and craftily.”

For more information about the orchestra’s concerts this winter and spring, see PortAngelesSymphony.org and visit the Port Angeles Symphony’s Facebook page.

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