Symphony in the Valley performs holiday favorites in Glenwood, Rifle |

Symphony in the Valley performs holiday favorites in Glenwood, Rifle

Symphony in the Valley will put on its holiday concerts in Glenwood Springs today and in Rifle tomorrow.
Ruth Mollman |

If You Go...

Who: Symphony in the Valley

What: “Christmas Classics” holiday concert

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday and 7 p.m. Saturday

Where: Glenwood Springs High School auditorium on Friday and New Ute Events Center in Rifle on Saturday

How Much: $15 for adults, $10 for children, $40 for families, free for music students

For the past six weeks, Symphony in the Valley has been rehearsing for its annual holiday concerts, putting the final touches on Christmas favorites and a few lesser-heard classics.

“We try to do some new things,” said music director and conductor Kelly Thompson. “But I think a lot of people enjoy the music this time of year. You only hear it once a year, so it’s kind of fun.”

The community orchestra’s holiday concerts will take place at 7:30 p.m. today in the Glenwood Springs High School Auditorium and at 7 p.m. on Saturday at the New Ute Events Center in Rifle.

Thompson said one of the highlights this year is selections from “The Nutcracker Suite.” The symphony has had dancers perform in the past, but this year the music will be standing on its own. Thompson said it’s a crowd favorite and one of the more challenging pieces for the players, who are “rising to the occasion.”

Other highlights are “Santa Baby,” which will feature vocalist Stephanie Askew, “Carol of the Bells,” “Joy to the World” and more.

While there are plenty of holiday events and performances throughout the valley, Symphony in the Valley is the only orchestra in the area, making this performance a little something special for anyone who attends.

“We are the community orchestra for the valley,” Thompson said. “I think it’s always nice to listen to a lot of the old standards done the way they were supposed to be done.”

For Zac Milby, who started playing violin for the orchestra in 2003 when he was in 8th grade, his favorite piece is Canadian Brass Christmas Carols.

“It’s a nice medley of less often heard Christmas music,” Milby said. “And there’s something about brass bands and Christmas carols that go together nicely.”

Milby, who has been playing violin since he was 10 years old, took a few years off from Symphony in the Valley when he went off to college. Last year, he was in Denver and able to practice the music on his own and travel out to the valley for weekend performances, but this is his first year completely back in the orchestra. He said it’s a great organization to support because it is so community-centric and offers opportunities for musicians that would not exist without it.

“My impression of the symphony is that it really is a community-based organization,” Milby said. “It’s a nice, collaborative environment, and it’s a really nice thing to see.”

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