It’s holiday time in the city, and above all the bustle you’ll hear silver bells, violin bows, guitar strings, trumpets and trombones creating the soundtrack to the most festive time of year. The Oregon Symphony has packed December with the sounds of the season, from traditional carols to holiday favorites and cultural exploration.
“We have six concerts in December that feature a variety of musical genres that highlight how different members of our community celebrate joy, which is the spirit of the whole month,” says Deanna Tham, Associate Conductor of the Oregon Symphony. “There is truly something for everyone.”
Tham will be conducting three of the seasonal performances. She views the December concert series as an opportunity to immerse yourself in the holidays and also take a breath from all the busyness associated with the end of the year. The Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall will be decked with holiday greenery, trees and sparkling lights as a backdrop to the Oregon Symphony concerts. The Symphony will be joined by a glittering array of guest performers, including gospel choirs, the Oregon chorale and Mariachi Sol De México de José Hernández.
“Music plays an especially meaningful role during the holidays, given its power to unite people, bring joy and tell stories,” says Scott Showalter, President and CEO of Oregon Symphony. “Our festive concerts are a wonderful way to experience the season with friends and family.”
As you plan your holiday schedule, consider adding a few of these special occasions to your calendar.
Festive fun for all ages
Start the holiday season with “Comfort & Joy” on Dec. 7. Tham will be conducting, and the Oregon Chorale will be joining in for an evening of traditional carols and seasonal classics. You’re invited to sing along with all your holiday favorites.
On Dec. 10, the beloved Portland tradition of “Gospel Christmas with the Oregon Symphony” will celebrate the 23rd annual performance. This is the highlight of the season for many loyal fans, who love the inspired joy of the concert. The event features the region’s premier gospel singers, including acclaimed vocalist Alonzo Chadwick.
Experience a classic holiday movie in a new way when the Oregon Symphony performs the score live while the feature film Elf is projected onto the big screen. Come out Dec. 17 or Dec. 18 for “Elf in Concert.”
For the second year in a row, a musical tribute to Mexico’s Christmas traditions will be part of the concert series. “A Very Merry Mariachi Christmas Concert” by Mariachi Sol de México will have feet tapping and may inspire a spontaneous grito or two.
Show off Portland’s best to your guests
Got company in for the holiday? A couple of concerts to close out the year will be the best souvenirs of the season.
“It’s hard to imagine the holidays without the sounds of brass instruments,” Tham says. She will conduct musicians from the symphony’s horn section through a diverse repertoire of holiday favorites from carols to crooners to “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”
“Your Oregon Symphony has an amazing brass section we are proud to showcase on Dec. 21,” she says.
Then to close out 2022, Tham will also conduct Vivaldi’s wildly popular Four Seasons and Rodion Shchedrin's explosive Carmen Suite.
“As we turn the page on a year, it’s a reflective time to consider our goals and our gratitude,” Tham says. “The timelessness of these concertos can comfort and inspire us into 2023. Get dressed up or put on your favorite ugly sweater but give yourself a holiday gift by enjoying your Oregon Symphony.”
Ticket prices start at $15. For a full list of holiday concert dates and ticket options, visit www.orsymphony.org or call 503-228-1353. Popular holiday shows often sell out, so don’t delay!