Lea Kingsbury figures people can jazz up their Christmas with a little help from her and her friends Sunday afternoon.
The Parkside Elementary School fifth-grader is especially looking forward to crooning a swing rendition of “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” when the 82-member Parkside Chorus will be featured at the Columbus Symphony Orchestra’s annual holiday concert, “Winter’s Passion,” at 3:30 p.m. at The Commons.
“I’ve never even really heard this version before,” Kingsbury said.
She and her fifth- and sixth-grade classmates also will perform, “Do You Hear What I Hear?” and a German-language version of “O Tannenbaum.”
Fifth-grader Bethany Shelton mentioned that most youngsters her age get to sing “only to CDs,” as she put it.
“So I’m excited about the opportunity to sing with the orchestra,” she said.
Dariana Chavez, also a fifth-grader, can’t wait for “Do You Hear What I Hear?”
“We get to hit this really high note in the song,” she said. “And that’s really my comfort zone.”
Chorus director Kathy Dell is excited for her group, who arrive early at school twice a week to rehearse.
“This is an opportunity we’ve never had before,” Dell said, adding that they’ve been working since September. “And they’re doing a wonderful job (preparing).”
Over the years, the group has performed with the Indianapolis Opera Ensemble, Columbus Indiana Children’s Choir and others.
Music director Roger Kalia will lead the symphony. Concertmaster Matve Lapin will open the afternoon with “Winter” from Antonio Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons.”
Kalia mentioned that pieces chosen for the program fit well into the orchestra’s season-long theme, “Forces of Nature.” On tap are Leroy Anderson’s “Sleigh Ride,” Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Dance of the Tumblers,” Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Scherzo from Symphony No. 1 and George Frideric Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus.”
Also, the orchestra will present the U.S. premiere of “Christmas Symphony” by Gaetano Randazzo.
When she considers the lineup and her students’ contributions, Dell said, she simply wants them to feel some of the exuberance music has given her during her years as a concert flutist with the Columbus Indiana Philharmonic and other groups.
“I have performed all my life,” Dell said. “And I know the great joy I have felt from those experiences.”