West Michigan Symphony concert to showcase music from favorite seasonal films

“It’s a Wonderful Life.” “Home Alone.” “Elf.” “Babes in Toyland.”  “Polar Express.” “Meet Me in St. Louis.” “A Christmas Carol.” It’s all on the bill when Music Director Scott Speck leads the West Michigan Symphony and guest vocalist Holly Payne in the annual Home for the Holidays concert at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 15. 

“Timeless Movie Memories” is the theme, and Speck and company promise to deliver just that—along with plenty of classic holiday fare and a carol singalong. 

Joining Speck, Payne and the orchestra will be the West Michigan Symphony Children’s Choir and the Mona Shores High School Choir. 

Sponsored by Warner Norcross Judd, Webb Chemical and Mike and Kay Olthoff, the performance will be held in the Frauenthal Center, 425 W. Western Ave. in downtown  Muskegon. For tickets, starting at $19 for adults and $10 for students, call 231-727-8001, visit the Frauenthal box office. or purchase online at www.westmichigansymphony.org

Selections will include orchestral suites drawn from the soundtracks of “Polar Express” and “Elf,” “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” from “Meet Me in St. Louis,” “March of the Toys” from “Babes in Toyland,” “When Christmas Comes to Town” from “Polar Express,” “Somewhere in My Memory” from “Home Alone,” and “God Bless Us, Every One” from “A Christmas Carol,” to name a few.  

“Everyone who knows me knows how much I love movie music,” Speck says. “So for this year’s concert we’ve created an entire evening filled with scores from the most treasured holiday movies.  We  hope to brighten everyone’s life, embrace their souls and send them soaring into the holiday season.”

Professional, local guest artists

Holly Payne was acclaimed as “a knockout” and hailed for “a voice that is incredibly pure, strong and beautiful” by Talking Broadway. Her West Michigan Symphony appearance comes after recent starring roles in “Meet Me in St Louis” and “A Christmas Carol” at the Phoenix Hale Centre Theatre. 

The Mona Shores High School Choir, under the direction of Shawn Lawton, enjoys a rich tradition of excellence and a reputation for diverse and unique musical opportunities. The choir presents a Broadway musical and popular music concert, Pop Go the Sailors, each year; travels to New York City and internationally; and is known far and wide for presenting “America’s Tallest Singing Christmas Tree” every year at the Frauenthal. 

West Michigan Symphony Children’s Choir, now in its 11th season, brings together singers ages 8 to 13 under the direction of Beth Slimko for independent concerts, performances in collaboration with West Michigan Symphony Debut Strings, and appearances on the West Michigan Symphony concert season.  

Headquartered in Muskegon, West Michigan Symphony is a resident performing group at the Frauenthal Center, where its eight-concert season is the most visible part of a larger artistic enterprise. At its live listening room, The Block, just down the street, it mounts 15 performance events annually featuring jazz, classical, folk, ambient and other offerings. Its concerts and education events bring 16,500 people—more than 30% of whom are children and students—downtown annually.

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Read more articles by Shandra Martinez.