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Ringing in the Holidays

Annual holiday concert offers music, charity and holiday cheer

by Published: Dec 4, 2013

The West Central Chamber Orchestra practices under the direction of Dr. Scott Cohen for the annual Ferris and Community holiday concert. The concert, dubbed the “Symphonic Santa Sunday,” will feature a mixture of religious and secular Christmas songs and carols and even songs from “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” The concert will take place on Dec. 8 at 4 p.m. in Williams Auditorium.  Photo By: Olivia Odette | Photographer

The West Central Chamber Orchestra prac­tices under the direc­tion of Dr. Scott Cohen for the annual Ferris and Community hol­i­day con­cert. The con­cert, dubbed the “Symphonic Santa Sunday,” will fea­ture a mix­ture of reli­gious and sec­u­lar Christmas songs and car­ols and even songs from “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” The con­cert will take place on Dec. 8 at 4 p.m. in Williams Auditorium.
Photo By: Olivia Odette | Photographer

Christmas songs are on every radio sta­tion and everyone’s sip­ping on pep­per­mint mochas. The hol­i­days are here, and so is the annual Ferris and com­mu­nity hol­i­day concert.

The con­cert will take placeon Dec. 8 at 4 p.m. in Williams Auditorium. For the sixth year the con­cert will be part­nered with a local char­ity to sup­port Mecosta County area fam­i­lies. The Salvation Army is this year’s spon­sored charity.

The con­cert, this year dubbed a “Symphonic Santa Sunday,” will fea­ture hol­i­day music and enter­tain­ment. The West Central Chamber Orchestra (WCCO), West Central Concert Band (WCCB), and the Symphony Band will per­form under the direc­tion of Dr. Scott Cohen.

“It’s meant to be a real town and gown thing,” Cohen said. “Get every­one here on cam­pus in the Christmas mood and for­get finals for at least one hour. Have the com­mu­nity come in, too. Some hol­i­day cheer.”

Adding to that hol­i­day cheer will be Santa Claus and Ferris reg­u­lar Dynamite the Clown, who will be pass­ing out candy at the concert’s mid­way point as the bands per­form “Santa Songs.”

Pre-show enter­tain­ment will also be avail­able in the lobby, with Santa, a trum­pet ensem­ble, harp and viola eager to delight early attendees.

Cohen and his musi­cians made spe­cial note of how the music unites cam­pus and com­mu­nity, with about half the WCCO and WCCB being made up of com­mu­nity mem­bers. Some of those com­mu­nity mem­bers even go a step beyond performing.

“We have a clar­inet ensem­ble, too, going to play an arrange­ment of Christmas car­ols. That was done by Bob Garrels,” Cohen said. “He’s a retired Lutheran pas­tor and he does really nice arrange­ments. He’s done one almost every year for the last num­ber of years.”

The con­cert will fea­ture a mix­ture of reli­gious and sec­u­lar Christmas songs and car­ols, with such selec­tions as “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” “Holiday Hoedown,” and a Trans-Siberian Orchestra piece.

The con­cert will be quite the under­tak­ing, as clar­inetist and Ferris ele­men­tary edu­ca­tion junior Caitlin Woolen explained.

“There are sev­enty peo­ple in each band,” Woolen esti­mated. “We don’t include the choir anymore.”

The large num­bers are music to Dr. Cohen’s ears, though. The pro­fes­sor and direc­tor takes pride in music at Ferris, where the clos­est thing there is to a music major is the business-oriented Music Industry Management program.

“We like to do a lot of stuff that engages us with the com­mu­nity, because that’s what music here is about,” Cohen explained. “It’s not about becom­ing a pro­fes­sional. It’s not about hav­ing to do sin­is­ter things to your stand part­ner so you can beat them. It’s about con­tin­u­ing to make music and pro­vid­ing live music for peo­ple in the com­mu­nity to make and enjoy. We call that ‘music for life.’”