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OHIO VALLEY SYMPHONY; THE CHRISTMAS SHOW DECEMBER 1 2012 8:00 PM

Stores are decking their halls even earlier every year, but the holiday season doesn’t start in October – or even at Thanksgiving. It starts Dec. 1 with The Ohio Valley Symphony’s annual “Christmas Show.”

The program, now a southeast Ohio tradition, is at 8 p.m. in the Ariel-Ann Carson Dater Performing Arts Centre in downtown Gallipolis. Locally-based Holzer Health System is the long time sponsor of the evening’s festivities

OVS Music Director Ray Fowler has again assembled a holiday-sized spread of musical cheer for the concert. He and the orchestra will offer a menu of old favorites — both carols and winter holiday songs – and of some surprises that audience members will be adding to their list of favorites. Among the traditional carols will be arrangements including “Away in a Manger” and “What Child is This?”

Songs from America’s holiday traditions will include “Jingle Bells,” “Sleigh Ride” and “Winter Wonderland.” Look forward as well, to an American flavor, thanks to William Bergsma’s “Carol for Twelfth Night,” Lucas Richman’s “Reindeer Variations” – one for each of Santa’s four-legged helpers – and “A Quint of Carols” by Ohio native Don Waxman. Classical composers Gustav Holst and Sergei Prokofiev (another sleigh ride, this time in Russia) also will be represented.

As part of The Ohio Valley Symphony’s mission to bring live, professional, orchestral music to the region and to instill a love of music — especially in children – the public is encouraged to attend OVS rehearsals for free at 7-10 p.m. Friday, Nov. 30, and 1-4 p.m. Dec. 1 at the Ariel Theatre. Open rehearsals are a great way for young and old alike to grow familiar with symphonic music, and they offer a fascinating behind-the-scenes glimpse at the preparation of an orchestral performance.

Concert-goers have another unique opportunity to make a personal connection with the music, too. Thomas Consolo, OVS Assistant Conductor and program annotator, offers a free pre-concert chat in the third-floor Ariel Chamber Theatre, just upstairs from the concert site. The casual get-together will put a more personal face on the night’s music and answer questions about the program, the OVS or the orchestral experience in general. The talk begins at 7:15 p.m. Dec. 1.

Single tickets to “The Christmas Show” with The Ohio Valley Symphony cost $24, $22 (senior) and $12 (student). Tickets and more information are available at the Ariel-Ann Carson Dater Performing Arts Centre box office, 428 Second Ave., Gallipolis; by phone, (740) 446-2787 (ARTS); and through the OVS web site, www.ohiovalleysymphony.org.

Funding for The Ohio Valley Symphony is provided in part by the Ann Carson Dater Endowment. Further support is provided by the Ohio Arts Council, a state agency that funds and supports quality arts experiences to strengthen Ohio communities culturally, educationally and economically.