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Hillsdale College Sym­phony Orchestra to perform led Director of Orchestras and Choirs James Holleman.

After the Hillsdale Sym­phony Orchestra plays Dvorak’s off-the-beaten-track 8th Sym­phony, it’ll sprinkle holiday cheer with Christmas music during its winter concert, which runs Sat­urday to Sunday.

It’s rare, but the cal­endar pre­sented an oppor­tunity for Christmas pop music this year, according to Pro­fessor of Music James Holleman. Last year, the orchestra couldn’t follow through with its winter reper­toire because of the “Messiah” per­for­mances and a trip to D.C. hap­pening in January, but this year, the rehearsal schedule is dif­ferent. 

Despite these con­flicts, the stu­dents still had a certain pos­itive spirit about the Christmas music, Holleman said.

So this year, the orchestra will delight audience members with ren­di­tions of the first suite from Tchaikovsky’s “The Nut­cracker Suite,” Leroy Anderson’s arrangement of carols in “A Christmas Fes­tival,” and music from “The Polar Express.”  

“This concert has really nice balance between the heavy, aca­demic clas­sical in the first portion and then at the end, fun Christmas music, while still being real orchestra reper­toire,” con­cert­master junior Joshua Brown said. “The Nut­cracker is the most fun, complex thing to listen to of the music we’re playing. It’s some­thing you don’t often get to hear from a full orchestra.” 

Brown, who admitted the orchestra cheated by two rehearsals on the “no Christmas music before Thanks­giving” rule, said he has fun playing the selec­tions because it doesn’t happen often and won’t become a yearly orchestra tra­dition. 

That’s because when the orchestra has a four-concert cycle, Holleman said he is typ­i­cally hes­itant to spend some of it on Christmas music. 

“There’s a lot of reper­toire we need to play, we need to expe­rience,” he said. “It really fell into place this concert: The rehearsal schedule, every­thing. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun. I think the audience is going to love it.”