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A holiday mix: Treat yourself to music, magic and more at UMW Philharmonic Orchestra's holiday concert at Dodd Auditorium tonight. Busy? You get another chance Friday.
BY BRIDGET BALCH
With a magic show, a ballet performance and a train ride to visit Santa, this year's University of Mary Washington Philharmonic Orchestra Holiday Pops performance, "The Magic of Christmas," is not your average orchestra concert.
"It's a huge event," said Rita Snyder, operations manager for the UMW Philharmonic Orchestra. "[The concert is] a nice way to kick off the beginning of the holiday season."
In addition to performing the scores of "It's a Wonderful Life," "The Polar Express" and "Miracle on 34th Street," as well as other favorite Christmas classics, the UMW Philharmonic will treat the audience to multiple genres of interactive entertainment.
This particular performance is unique because the orchestra will play versions of the score from "It's a Wonderful Life" and Leroy Anderson's "A Christmas Festival."
The Philharmonic will play the score by composer Dimitri Tiomkin that was cut from "It's a Wonderful Life" when the film's release was moved from its intended spring date to one during the Christmas season.
This score was only recently released after decades of being unavailable. The previously unheard music will be introduced by showing the scenes from the movie that preceded the cut scenes that originally included the music.
In addition, the orchestra will play a rare, extended version of Leroy Anderson's famous orchestral medley, "A Christmas Festival."
These pieces will be followed by the score from "The Polar Express," which will cue the orchestra's very own Polar Express-style train to ride around the auditorium to pick up children and bring them to the stage, where Santa Claus will be waiting to greet them.
The concert will also offer a performance from the Avery Ballet, who will be dancing along to the orchestra's presentation of "March of the Toys" from "Babes in Toyland."
True to the title of the show, "The Magic of Christmas," the audience will be treated to the magical talents of Michael Taggert, magician extraordinaire.
If just watching the orchestra perform is not enough to satisfy your, or your children's, curiosity about what goes in to making so many sounds come together so beautifully, come see, touch and try the instruments out for yourself.
From 5:30 to 6:15 tonight, the UMW Philharmonic will hold a free "Instrument Petting Zoo," where children of all ages are invited to meet some of the principal members of the orchestra and learn about, and even try out, some of the instruments.
"It's a crowd favorite. The kids love it," said Kevin Bartram, music director of the UMW Philharmonic.
In addition to the many incredible shows the UMW Philharmonic has prepared for the Fredericksburg community's holiday entertainment, it will display its talents for the Greater Washington area on WETA.
The PBS station will broadcast "A Fiddler's Holiday," a documentary on UMW Philharmonic's 2011 holiday concert, at 3:30 p.m. today.
Bridget Balch: 540/374-5444
Tickets are available for purchase at the Fredericksburg Visitor Center on Caroline Street, online at umwphilharmonic.tix.com and at the door, starting at