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Greater Huntington Symphonic Band to perform annual Christmas concert

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — The Greater Huntington Symphonic Band will perform its annual free Christmas concert at 2 p.m. on Sunday in the Marshall University Smith Music Hall Recital Hall, located on the corner of Third Avenue and Hal Greer Boulevard in Huntington.

The program will feature holiday favorites such as “Greensleeves,” “Sleigh Ride” and “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” Two selections – “Bell Carol a la Big Band” and “A Fresh Aire Christmas” – take on the flavor of the popular Mannheim Steamroller orchestra. “Christmas Classics,” “Minor Alterations” and “Rudolph in Wonderland,” are representative of the remainder of the program as arrangements of several well-known Christmas carols and seasonal music.

The symphonic band has existed for decades under several different names and conductors, but came together in its present form in 1964 with Homer Oschenhirt as director. At that time the band was housed in the old Stella Fuller Building in Huntington and gave concerts at the Stella Fuller Playground.

The ensemble, directed by Tom Thompson since 1990, draws its membership from the greater Tri-State, including Huntington, Charleston, Ashland, Ironton, Russell and Flatwoods. It is a non-profit organization funded solely by donations to purchase music.

Membership is open to anyone who has basic music reading and musicianship skills and loves to play band music. Current members range in age from teens to octogenarians and represent all walks of life including students, retirees, and working professionals.

There is no audition requirement and anyone interested in joining the band is encouraged to attend rehearsals which are Thursday nights, 7-8:30 p.m., in the Vinson Middle School band room in Spring Valley.