Sleigh bells rang through the Rose Theatre on Saturday December 6th as Brampton’s Rose Orchestra held their December show. Entitled Celebrate! the theme celebrated winter merriment and Christmas spirit.
Song choices had an interesting range that appealed to all tastes in music, from wintery waltzes like Strauss’ Tales From The Vienna Woods, to carolling classics arranged in Leroy Anderson’s A Christmas Festival, to pop melodies like Last Christmas, and even childhood memories in Guaraldi & Mendelson’s Charlie Brown Christmas.
In addition to the range in music came a variety of performing groups. Featured alongside the Rose Orchestra were the W.G. Davis School Choir with 60 of their 100 member ensemble present, The Rock School, a private music school in Brampton that educates and prepares students for a career in music, the Rosebuds, Brampton’s youth orchestra, plus a vocal solo from the Rose Orchestra’s own chair trombonist, Bob Phillips.
While celebration was intended as a musical theme, the festive spirit truly came alive between the performers and the audience. On stage performers wore red bow ties and the double basses were adorned with Santa hats. Between the songs, sleigh bells rang to welcome guest speakers and gift prizes from various local restaurants that were won by audience members. All around me people were humming along to the Christmas melodies and laughing at the host’s jokes. For the last listed medley, the band got the audience involved in a Christmas “sing-a-long.” And when they did an encore of Leroy Anderson’s Sleigh Ride, a spark came alight in the audience. Everyone was clapping along to the beat, I was dancing in my seat (admittedly I was dancing and humming to that melody for the rest of night), and we all laughed when our claps matched the percussion’s whip-crack effect.
That was something I loved about the night. We, the audience, were no longer watching as individuals. The way the host and performers interacted with us made the audience become more of a community; it brought us together.
Even the music selection had its way of bringing people together. During intermission I spoke with friends and acquaintances about the show, and it was interesting to hear how the concert was affecting people of different upbringings. For one woman, her joy was hearing Tchaikovsky’s Polonaise because, back in her homeland of Poland, it is the song every teen learns to dance to for their prom. Those who grew up in Canada hummed along to A Christmas Festival, a combined rendition of Deck the Halls, Jingle Bells, Joy to the World and other fun carols. For another woman, newly emigrated to Canada from the Middle East, the music selection and the show itself offered a fascinating experience in Canadian culture. It was all so interesting, not just because the music reached out to the audience on different levels, but sharing those feelings and stories with one another became a bonding experience for us all.
Honestly, I am thankful to the Rose Orchestra for giving us audience members that experience. It was such a wonderful concert! I also wish to share my congratulations, as it was announced during the concert that the Rose Orchestra and the Rosebuds received a Trillium Grant worth $82,700. With it they will be able to spread the gift of music to more people in our wonderful city.