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Ohio Valley Symphony to present show

Hark! O little town of Gallipolis, the holidays are almost here — and the Ohio Valley Symphony is ready to get you in the spirit.

The orchestra’s season-long 20th birthday celebration continues Dec. 5 with “The Christmas Show.”

Music director Ray Fowler leads the only professional orchestra in the Ohio River Valley in what has become a community tradition at 8 p.m. in the Ariel-Ann Carson Dater Performing Arts Centre at 426 Second Ave. in Gallipolis.

Celebrate the sounds of the season with family, friends, and a whole evening of favorite holiday songs and Christmas carols.

For Fowler, the OVS’s conductor since its first performance in 1989, the holiday concert is a special event that never gets dull. “I love looking for the repertoire,” he said, “and this year’s program has some new pieces that I’ve discovered.”

He describes Steven Amundson’s “Angel’s Dance” as “a shower of orchestral colors” and Bryan Kelly’s “Improvisation on Christmas Carols” as “just so well done.”

Alongside those discoveries, concert-goers will be treated to such classic carols as “The First Noel,” “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” “Joy the the World” and “O Little Town of Bethlehem” — all arranged for orchestra by master arrangers including Carmon Dragon and Leroy Anderson. The lighter side of the season will get its due thanks to more modern winter standards, like Victor Herbert’s “Babes in Toyland,” Anderson’s “Sleigh Ride,” and Dragon arrangements of “Winter Wonderland,” “Deck the Halls,” and “Jingle Bell Fantasy.”

There’s something extra, too. Just as at the season’s other four concerts, the OVS will offer a unique take on “Happy Birthday” to help mark the ongoing celebration of its anniversary.

The years of making music are a testament to the region’s dedication, Fowler said. “A small, Appalachian community can actually support a quality symphony orchestra experience. That’s very special.” “The best way to find out just how special,” said Lora Lynn Snow, the orchestra’s founder and Executive Director, “is to see and hear the orchestra perform live. “The Christmas Show” is a great place to start,” she said.

Tickets to The Ohio Valley Symphony’s Dec. 5 performance of The Christmas Show are on sale now. Visit the OVS Web site at www.ohiovalleysymphony.org for more information.

The public is encouraged to attend OVS rehearsals for free from 7-10 p.m. Friday, Dec. 4, and 1-4 p.m. Dec. 5 at the Ariel-Dater Hall.

Open rehearsals are a good way to introduce children to orchestral music and for casual listeners to grow more comfortable with it. They’re also a great glimpse behind the scenes at what goes into preparing an orchestral performance.

Funding for the Ohio Valley Symphony is provided by the Ann Carson Dater Endowment.

This concert is sponsored by Holzer Clinic, honoring the accomplishments of Bobbie Holzer.