Students and locals will come together this weekend to put on UF’s 65th annual holiday concert.
Sounds of the Season, hosted by the College of the Arts and the School of Music, will be at the Phillips Center for the Performing Arts on Sunday. The free concert starts at 7 p.m., and ticket distribution begins at 6 p.m. at the box office.
“For the past couple of years the Phillips Center has been so full that we have had to turn people away,” said Will Kesling, the conductor for the last 12 years.
He said some people get to the box office before 6 p.m. because the show tends to fill quickly.
The concert coincides with Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day and will pay tribute with performances like variations of “Jingle Bell Rock” from Bing Crosby’s 1944 radio show that was broadcast to the those fighting in the war at the time.
Some of the pieces the orchestra will be performing include Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas” and a version of “Silent Night, Holy Night,” originally narrated by Walter Cronkite.
“Silent Night, Holy Night” is the story of the Christmas Truce of 1914 and is in remembrance of the day both sides put away their weapons and celebrated Christmas.
“Every time I talk about this moment I get goose bumps,” Kesling said. “It is so unbelievably moving.”
Kelsing said there will be 300-plus performers on stage. One hundred of them are part of the orchestra, and 180 are part of the choir.
The concert is heavily supported by President Bernie Machen and first lady Chris Machen. Jen Day Shaw, associate vice president of student affairs and dean of students, wrote in an email that President Machen’s involvement and introduction to the show last year was entertaining.
“This event is one of the many ways to enjoy Gainesville’s talent in celebration of the holiday season,” she said.
[A version of this story ran on page 7 on 12/4/2014]
An orchestra and choir perform at last year’s annual holiday concert at the Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. This year’s theme is “Bells of Remembrance,” and it reflects the performance date’s intersection with Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.