Southwestern Ohio Symphonic Band presents holiday concert

Danny Maddox Nichols conducts the Southwestern Ohio Symphonic Band.

Credit: Submitted photo

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Danny Maddox Nichols conducts the Southwestern Ohio Symphonic Band.

Credit: Submitted photo

The Southwestern Ohio Symphonic Band will present its annual holiday concert, “Strike Up the Band for the Holidays” at 2:30 p.m. Sun, Dec. 5 at at Miami University Middletown’s Dave Finkelman Auditorium. The concert is free and open to the public.

“We were the last large group to play at Dave Finkelman Auditorium before the shutdown, and we’ll be the first large group to come back,” said Danny Maddox Nichols, music director, of The Southwestern Ohio Symphonic Band.

Conducted by Nichols, the concert will open with “The Star-Spangled Banner,” which was arranged by Walter Damrosch and John Phillip Sousa and edited by Keith Brion. The opening number will be followed by “Strike Up the Band” by George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin, which was arranged by Jack Bullock.

“We’ve been rehearsing for three weeks, and we’ve really been very careful in terms of protocols with our band. What we are excited about is that we’ll be live again…The program will include some marches and holiday selections, but what I’m proud of is the way the band is playing. They are playing very well, and we’re working hard, like we haven’t even been off,” Nichols said.

Other numbers on the first half of the program will include “Under the Double Eagle March,” “Victory” and “El Capitan March.”

“The song ‘Victory,’ will be dedicated to one of our longtime trumpet players, Bruce Rohrbach, who passed away during the pandemic. He’d really be pleased with this, it’s a very good piece,” Nichols said.

The second half of program will begin with “Midway March” by John Williams and arranged by Paul Lavender. “This is a really good arrangement, and we’ll honor all of the veterans in the audience and have them stand. We also have a number of veterans in the band, and we’ll have them stand as well, and we’ll do the ‘Midway March’ in their honor,” said Nichols, “This is a brand-new tradition, and we honor veterans at every concert.”

The performance will continue with “Good King Wenceslas” by Piae Cantiones (1582,) and arranged by Tom Wallace. Then, the audience will hear selections from Tim Burton’s, “The Nightmare before Christmas,” with music and lyrics by Danny Elfman and arranged by Michael Brown. Another standout will include “Merry Christmas Everyone!” by Steven Reineke.

Audiences will participate in “A Christmas Sing-Along,” that will feature several holiday selections, including “O Come, All Ye Faithful,” “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing,” “Angels We Heard on High” and “Silent Night.”

The concert will conclude with Leroy Anderson’s “Sleigh Ride,” which is an annual tradition for the band. The program will feature two 30-to-40-minute segments with an intermission.

“If you want to enjoy a really entertaining concert with a variety of music, that’s what we’ll try to provide,” Nichols said.

How to go

What: “Strike Up the Band for the Holidays” presented by the Southwestern Ohio Symphonic Band

When: 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 5

Where: Dave Finkelman Auditorium, Miami University Middletown, 4200 N. University Blvd.

Cost: Free, open to the public

More info: Visit www.sosband.org. Masks are required inside the auditorium, regardless of vaccination status

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