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Tickets still available for ‘A Holiday Celebration’ concert with ONNY, MCHS students

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MASSENA - The days are ticking down to a holiday concert that will feature the Orchestra of Northern New York and students in the Massena High School Mixed Chorus.

Tickets are still available for A Holiday Celebration,” which will be held at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in the Massena High School auditorium.

“There will be plenty of tickets at the door,” according to Massena Music Friends President Paul A. Haggett.

Massena Music Friends is presenting the holiday concert.

The Orchestra of Northern New York filled Sacred Heart Church last year for a concert that was sponsored by the Performing Arts Committee created by Massena Mayor James F. Hidy, and Mr. Haggett said he hopes to see a full auditorium on Saturday. They’ve printed 700 tickets for the event, which will be a fundraiser for Massena Music Friends, a group that has been raising money to benefit school music programs in Massena.

“If we can sell 500 tickets, that’s going to be roughly $6,000 to the good of the Massena Central Music Department,” he said.

The festivities actually begin before the concert, with brass musicians striking up holiday caroling cheer in the hallway, Mr. Haggett said.

“We’re encouraging folks to come a little bit early. We’re going to have refreshments - cookies, coffee, water, etc. - in the lobby,” he said.

Once the concert gets underway, it will feature many traditional Christmas tunes, including the featured piece called “The Many Moods of Christmas,” which involves 130 high school students singing with the professional orchestra.

“It really is an honor and a privilege to work with the Orchestra of Northern New York as well as an opportunity to perform with an orchestra. The kids are very excited about this,” Massena High School Choral Director Chris Lincoln said.

The students will also be singing other pieces in addition to “The Many Moods of Christmas,” an eight-minute collection of Christmas carols, he said.

“Some of them are from our program, some of them are not from our regular program,” Mr. Lincoln said.

Performing with a professional orchestra will be a first for the students, he said.

“In my tenure there we’ve never performed with a professional orchestra. We have performed with our high school orchestra, which is pretty close,” he said. “The students will have to get used to a different conductor. The only person to ever conduct is me. For some, this will be the only conductor they’ve ever seen besides me.”

Mr. Lincoln will be conducting one piece.

“The Orchestra of Northern New York is graciously allowing us to perform one (piece) that I will conduct. We took them up on the opportunity,” he said.

Mr. Haggett said he’s hearing a lot of buzz in the community about the concert, not just because it involves a professional orchestra, but also because local students will be part of it.

“There’s a lot of excitement in the community over the concert. We’re very, very confident that it’s going to be well-attended,” he said.

“The orchestra itself is also looking forward to it. The reason they came back so easily this year to Massena is because there was such overwhelming support for what the orchestra did last under the direction of the mayor’s Performing Arts Committee. They were very excited to come back,” he said.

“They are really looking forward to a big Massena crowd and giving the folks here the opportunity to spotlight the talents of their young musicians as well as provide the sort of holiday-spirited performance that they’re going to do in Potsdam and Watertown too,” Mr. Haggett noted.

Tickets, which are $18 for adults and $15 for students and seniors, are available at Seasons Gifts, Phil and Jackie’s, the Greater Massena Chamber of Commerce and Mainly Music, as well as at the door. Children 10 and under are free.

Mr. Haggett said school officials have allowed a change in the drop-off location at the high school that night for those who are unable to walk from the parking lot.

“With the cooperation of the administration and custodial staff, we are going to have the bus gates monitored the evening of the performance so if anyone has an elderly family member, you really don’t have to walk as far as they would have to walk to get from the parking lot. There will be the ability to drop people off at the bus drop-off and then go park. We very much appreciate the willingness of the administration to allow us to do this,” he said.

For more information on the concert, contact Mr. Haggett at 250-1625 or Pat Tubbs at 842-1377.

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