If you’re seeking a bit more than a silent night, then heavens to Saint Nick, point your seasonal sleigh in the direction of The Commons on Sunday afternoon.
Members of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, led by the tuxedo-clad music director Josh Aerie, are prepared to rock their tails off — thanks to the energy and inspiration of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. The symphony will present the edgy pop ensemble’s Christmas medley, opening with the popular, percussion-powered “Christmas Eve/Sarajevo” at the concert, “A Holiday Journey.”
Symphony violinist Kenny Kraynik is trading his traditional instrument for an electric guitar for three tunes. An electric bass and a drum kit will prep the orchestra for a whole new sound. Aerie recently laughed while entertaining a question about the symphony’s ability to make the transition from proper classical to a more gritty style.
“Of course we can rock,” Aerie said. “Yes. And people will notice we’ll weave in some familiar holiday carols in kind of a clever way (in the medley). And I think most people will quickly recognize traditional tunes, even if they’ve never heard of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. It will be a lot fun.”
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The section of three tunes begins with the haunting, string strains of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” and segues into a caffeine-induced “Carol of the Bells” with a wall of crescendo-building sound reminiscent of a grand action-movie soundtrack.
“A large part of the idea of this programming these two works was to give a strong pops or rock element to provide something beyond the traditional Christmas carols,” Aerie said. “It’s always a challenge to do a holiday program that is somewhat novel.
“But I always believe that people come to a Columbus Symphony Orchestra concert to hear a wide variety of music. So I always try to find something a little newer and different, along with things that people will instantly recognize,” he added.
The weekend performance will include “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and Sergei Prokofiev’s “Lieutenant Kije Suite Symphonique,” a work also with slight links to rock. The 1970s progressive-rock act Emerson Lake & Palmer, a favorite of Aerie’s, translated the work into a more modern piece.
The concert’s more traditional moments will surface with a Parkside Elementary School Choir singing “It’s Beginning to Look Like Christmas” and “Do You Hear What I Hear?” Members also will lead the audience in a carol sing-along.
What: The Columbus Symphony Orchestra presents “A Holiday Journey” Christmas concert, featuring a Trans-Siberian Orchestra medley, “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and Sergei Prokofiev’s “Lieutenant Kije Suite Symphonique.” Plus, the Parkside Elementary School choir will perform.
When: 3:30 p.m. Sunday.
Where: The Commons, 300 Washington St. in Columbus.