Ride into the holiday season with West Alabama Chamber Symphony

The symphony is hosting its first concerts Nov. 29 and Nov. 30
Photo courtesy West Alabama Chamber Symphony

By WVUA 23 Digital Reporter Emilee Boster

The West Alabama Chamber Symphony will open the holiday season with its first concert, a “Southern Sleigh Ride” at the Night of Christmas celebration in the University of West Alabama auditorium on Nov. 29 at 7 p.m. and at Christmas at the River at Demopolis High School on Nov. 30 at 7 p.m. 

The 33-player orchestra, made up of students and faculty from the University of West Alabama, the University of Alabama and Demopolis High School, will perform symphonic work about a sleigh ride and piano impressionist music about snowflakes. The audience will also be invited to join in a holiday carol sing-along. 

World-class oboist Erik Larson will be performing Hugo Kauder’s 18-minute “Oboe Concerto,” which will be the first time it is performed in the Southeast United States. 

Christopher Shelt, the artistic director for the symphony and the president of the Sumter County Fine Arts Council, said he hopes audience members leave the concert feeling the Christmas spirit and believing they heard great music to begin the holiday season. 

The West Alabama Chamber Symphony is a collaboration between the Sumter County Fine Arts Council and the University of West Alabama.  Shelt said the council has been seeking to provide opportunities to redevelop the arts in the county and realized that would come through creating a local symphony to feature community members and their musical talents. The council created the symphony early this year to fulfill that mission. 

“We are doing some groundbreaking things in our area,” Shelt said. “We hope that this will be an ongoing thing and have every reason to believe it will, cultivating and tilling the soil of the musical arts in Sumter County.”

Both concerts are free and open to the public. There is a $15 suggested donation at the Christmas at the River concert. 

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