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Classical 101

Mansfield Symphony and Chorus Share Festive Holiday Music and Community

color photo of Mansfield Symphony Orchestra and Chorus in performance
Mansfield Symphony Orchesrta and Chorus

Imagine, if you can, Christmas without Christmas cookies, or bright lights, or Christmas music.

“Can you imagine that? Christmas without not only carols, but Nutcracker and other music that just always puts us all in the mood for what’s coming?” wondered Mansfield Symphony Orchestra music director Octavio Más-Arocas in a recent phone interview.

Más-Arocas and the Mansfield Symphony Orchestra and Chorus are helping to make that unthinkable scenario – the holidays without holiday music – a moot point with their Holiday Pops concert. Presented by the OhioHealth Symphony series, the performance will be held at 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15 in Mansfield’s Renaissance Theatre.

Más-Arocas says he packed the concert’s program full of familiar holiday favorites – festive pieces inspired by Christmas carols and other popular seasonal works that, he says, will put people of all ages in the holiday spirit.

“This is very popular, very fun music,” Más-Arocas said. “I also think that this concert is just something that brings everybody into the mood for the holidays. So it’s very family friendly and, actually, anyone would feel just very happy in this concert.”

The program includes perennial favorites like selections from Tchaikovsky’s music for The Nutcracker, Prokofiev’s Lieutenant Kijé suite and Leroy Anderson’s Sleigh Ride, along with works by some of today’s composers, including John Rutter, Steven Amundson and James Stephenson.

The concert will showcase varied arrangements for orchestra alone, chorus alone and orchestra with chorus. Audience members can join in A Holly Jolly Sing-Along at the end and enjoy a visit from a surprise guest – who will conduct one number on the program – and a special performance by Santa himself.

Más-Arocas says the Holiday Pops concert is much more than a concert of great holiday music – it celebrates coming together and spending time with others at this special time of year.

“Nowadays, we are focused on the things that put us apart than the things that unite us,” Más-Arocas said. “And I think that one of the things that unites us is music – all the time, but especially in this time of year where we come together to celebrate something.

“And even if you are not Christian or you are not a believer or you have different religion or whatever,” he continued, “there is something about this music; there is something about the act of everybody just coming together to a concert and listening to beautiful music and leaving everything else in our lives behind for a moment and just immers[ing] yourself in the actual act of just sharing that with each other.”

The Mansfield Symphony Orchestra and Chorus Holiday Pops concert takes place at 8 p.m. Dec. 15 in Mansfield’s Renaissance Theatre.

Jennifer Hambrick unites her extensive backgrounds in the arts and media and her deep roots in Columbus to bring inspiring music to central Ohio as Classical 101’s midday host. Jennifer performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Civic Orchestra of Chicago before earning a Ph.D. in musicology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.