USA East Music BULLETIN - WINTER 2018/19 - ISSUE 1 | Page 18

PHILLY KROC CHRISTMAS By Aaron Harris, Performing Arts Director, Philadelphia Kroc DECEMBER 20, 2019 — There was a palpable energy in the Philadelphia Kroc Center. At 6:30 on this Thursday night over fifty musicians and dancers were preparing to take to the stage and present the annual “Sounds of the Season” concert. This concert has developed as one of our greatest program highlights with the attendance this year nearly reaching capacity in the Worship and Performing Arts Center. The program featured the Let’s Play! youth orchestra, the Philly Kroc Jazz Orchestra, and a new addition with dancers from our Homework Zone and the Early Childhood Education Center. The program opened in good form with the Jazz Orchestra sharing an arrangement of Amazing Grace and dropping right in on the high energy arrangement of Beauty and the Beast by Gordon Goodwin. After a welcome by the Kroc administrator, Captain Tawny Cowen-Zanders, and a prayer by congregational life officer, Major Demetrius Stanford, the Jazz Orchestra came back swinging with an arrangement of Let it Snow. For the very first time our oldest children from the Early Childhood Education Center presented dance to music from a Charlie Brown Christmas. The wind ensemble from the Let’s Play! orchestra was welcomed and presented Sousa times Twosa featuring two of Sousa’s classic marches. The advanced string ensemble was welcomed and presented an impressive rendition of the first movement from Mozart’s String Quartet in C major. The full Let’s Play! orchestra shared a beautiful arrangement of Bach’s Sheep May Safely Graze. The Philly Kroc Jazz Orchestra came back into the program with Winter Wonderland, I’ve Got my Love to Keep Me Warm (featuring vocalist Nikki Paulino), and Man With a Bag that was well received with a little humor as Santa came dancing through the room. This year saw a large increase in the number of beginners in our Let’s Play! so the next number on the program highlighted them as the soloists with an arrangement for orchestra by William Himes, Christmas Debut: Good King What’s-his-name. Another first this year, was the involvement of our Homework Zone dancers presenting Sugar Plum Fairy accompanied by Let’s Play! and the Jazz Orchestra. 18 • USA EAST MUSIC BULLETIN | W I N T E R 2019 A special addition to the program was having New York Staff Bandsmen, Brindley Venables, as a soloist. He shared a beautiful arrangement by Kevin Norbury of the Huron Carol, which set the tone for congregational life officer Major Juanita Stanford to remind all those in attendance why we celebrate the Christmas Season. Coming to the end of our program we featured our beginners again on a fun piece, Christmas in the Kitchen, a medley of Christmas songs using pots and pans as the solo instruments. Vocalist Nikki Paulino joined the Jazz Orchestra once again and shared the sentiment with the audience to Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas. The final number combined Let’s Play! with the Philly Kroc Jazz Orchestra in a special arrangement of We Wish You a Merry Christmas by the Jazz Orchestra’s music director, Jon Gardner. ■ W W W. M U S I C . S A CO N N E C T S . O R G