The Holiday Concerts are coming early this year

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The Hugh Hodgson School of Music will present its annual Holiday Concert on Nov. 21-22 at 7:30 p.m. in Hodgson Concert Hall as the final Thursday Scholarship Series performances of this calendar year. The program features the University of Georgia Symphony Orchestra, combined choirs of Glee Clubs, University Chorus, and Hodgson Singers. 


The program will include a large portion of the orchestral music from Tchaikovsky’s holiday classic ballet, The Nutcracker, performed in the first half of the concert. “This year's concerts presented a unique challenge in that they are the week before Thanksgiving, which marks the beginning of the holidays,” said Director of Orchestral Activities Mark Cedel, which is why he chose for the UGA Symphony Orchestra to perform Tchaikovsky's “Nutcracker Suite” from Act II. 


The second half of the program will include the choirs with orchestra, and will include pieces on the theme of Thanksgiving and Harvest.  This section will include the uplifting and poignant chorus, “The Promise of Living” which is a choral excerpt from Aaron Copland’s opera, “The Tender Land.” The combined choirs will sing hymns and shaker tunes arranged by Mack Wilberg and Kevin Siegfried, as well as some traditional holiday selections, including a setting by British composer John Rutter. They will perform a sweeping choral/orchestral holiday medley, “A Symphony of Carols,” arranged by Randol Allan Bass, which includes familiar arrangements of carols in medieval French, Spanish, German, Latin, and English. Both the UGA Symphony Orchestra and choral department worked diligently in preparing for this early holiday concert. 


“The foreign language component of the Symphony of Carols is a bit of a challenge, and certainly, the Tchaikovsky’s brilliant and colorful score for the Nutcracker presents considerable technical challenges,” says Daniel Bara, the John D. Boyd UGA Foundation Professor of Choral Music and Director of Choral Activities.


The second part of the program will premiere a student composition arranged by graduate composition student Benjamin Dawson, student Composer-In-Residence for the UGA Hodgson Singers this year.  “We commissioned a holiday arrangement from him for this concert, and he has written a lovely arrangement of the beloved carol, In the Bleak Midwinter, for choir and chamber orchestra that will be featured on the program,” said Bara.


Additionally, Professor Philip A. Smith, the William F. & Pamela P. Prokasy Professor in the Arts and the director of the British Brass Band, will prepare a brass sextet to offer festival holiday selections as prelude music prior to the start of the concert, so audience members should be sure to arrive early.


The annual holiday concerts are a festive gathering of so many gifted student performers (200+ singers, and nearly 100 instrumentalists) and is a joyful culmination of the fall semester. “The diversity of selections and the general themes of thanksgiving, community, and celebration make this an annual favorite for our audiences,” said Bara.


Tickets can be purchased by calling 706-542-4400, online at or at the Box Office prior to the concert. For those unable to attend, live streaming services will be live on our website on night two of the holiday concerts at This year’s Holiday Concert performances have been underwritten by Bill Barstow in loving memory of Dolly Barstow.