Columbia in holiday mood with tree-trimming party, LPO concert
Contact: Christina Chapple
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Left, LPO Conductor Rebecca Miller
HAMMOND – The holiday season will officially arrive at Southeastern Louisiana University’s Columbia Theatre for the Performing Arts on Nov. 30 when the university’s historic downtown theater unveils a tree adorned with hundreds of decorations created by area children and teens.
The tree will be unveiled at the Columbia’s annual tree-trimming party, scheduled for 5:30 p.m. to coincide with downtown Hammond’s “Starry November Night.”
“We will begin with musical greetings from the choir from the Academic Center for the Visual and Performing Arts at Hammond Eastside Primary. Santa Claus will arrive at 6 p.m. and will pose for photos with all of our guests,” said Michelle Biggs, Columbia marketing director.
Biggs said the tree in the Columbia lobby will be decorated with ornaments, all with musical themes, submitted by more than 500 local students from first graders to high school seniors. In a special drawing during the party, one student will be selected to be a guest conductor at the Dec. 7 Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra concert.
She encouraged families to get their tickets early for the popular concert, which is traditionally a sell-out at the Columbia.
Resident Conductor Rebecca Miller, the first woman conductor on the LPO staff, will lead the orchestra in a program full of classical and popular holiday favorites.
The concert’s first half will be devoted to classics – selections from Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker Suite,” Handel’s “La Rejouissance” from “Royal Fireworks Music,” Corelli’s “Christmas Concerto,” Vaughn Williams’ “Fantasia on Greensleeves,” and Prokofiev’s “Troika” from “Lieutenant Kije Suite.”
Following intermission, the musicians will perform dozens of holiday favorites, inviting the audience to sing along to a medley of five traditional carols.
Selections will also include “Sleigh Ride,” “White Christmas,” “March of the Toys” from “Babes in Toyland,” “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” and a “Christmas Memories” medley with “Frosty the Snowman,” “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” “Here Comes Santa Claus,” “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.”
Cited as one of "Four at the Forefront" in an article on women conductors in the United Kingdom’s “The Guardian,” Miller has been acclaimed for her engaging podium manner, energetic presentation skills, innovative programming, and new insights into familiar works.
From 2005-2007 she was a conducting fellow at the Houston Symphony, where she conducted more than 70 education, family and classical performances and made her debut on the symphony’s Classical Subscription series. Her recent guest conducting engagements have included the Bard Music Festival, Canterbury's “Sounds New” Festival, a BBC Proms Composer Portrait for live broadcast, the New Asiana Ensemble at the Seoul Arts Centre in Korea, and a subscription concert with the Jerusalem Symphony.
Since 1999 Miller has been music director of London’s New Professionals. From 2001-2003, she was the junior fellow in conducting at the Royal College of Music in London, where she also served as assistant conductor at the Benjamin Britten International Opera School. She was a prize-winner at the eighth Leeds International Conducting Competition.
Born in California, Miller studied piano at Oberlin Conservatory and conducting at Northwestern University and the Aspen Music Festival.
Tickets for the LPO Holiday Concert are $39, Orchestra 1 and Loge; $34, Orchestra 2 and Balcony 1; and $26, Orchestra 3 and Balcony 2. Tickets can be purchased online at www.columbiatheatre.org or at the Columbia Theatre box office, 220 E. Thomas St., (985) 543-4371. Box office hours are noon-5 p.m., weekdays.