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Old Post Road Orchestra to offer free holiday concerts

Date: 12/5/2013

By Debbie Gardner

WILBRAHAM – The Old Post Road Orchestra is tuning up to bring three free holiday concerts to the Pioneer Valley this season, performing Dec. 7 at Wilbraham & Monson Academy, Dec. 8 at Mary Mother of Hope Church in Springfield and Dec. 14 at the Melha Shrine Center, also in Springfield.

The 27-year-old all-volunteer orchestra, which counts nearly 60 musicians from 22 to 91 years of age among its members, has been spending its Wednesday nights in rehearsals at Wilbraham & Monson Academy preparing a repertoire of classic and modern holiday songs that conductor Juli Sansoucy hopes will delight audiences.

Sansoucy told Reminder Publications the orchestra is hoping to send concertgoers home “with a song in their heart, that’s the goal.”

She said the concert program, which she plans to adapt to each of the venues, includes a mix of traditional holiday fare and “some jazzy holiday music as well.” Selections will include European holiday songs, a medley of popular seasonal tunes and a special performance of Hayden’s Kinder-Symphony.

“We’re going with a children’s toy theme for Christmas,” Sansoucy said of her choice of the Hayden piece, adding that the Kinder-Symphony, which “uses mainly strings, also features wind and percussion [performers] playing toy instruments.

“There’s a toy trumpet, a recorder playing a kind-of Cuckoo-Cuckoo sound, a rattle, a triangle [and] a drum. It should be fun,” she continued.

All three concerts will conclude with an audience sing-along of traditional carols.

The first of the concerts, slated for Dec. 7 in the dining hall at Wilbraham & Monson Academy, located on Faculty Street in Wilbraham, takes place at 7:30 p.m. The second concert, hosted on Dec. 8 by Mary Mother of Hope Church, 840 Page Blvd., in Springfield, is at 2 p.m. The orchestra’s final holiday concert on Dec. 14, takes place at the Melha Shrine Center, 133 Longhill St., at 8 p.m. For more information on any of the concerts, visit the orchestra’s website,

“All our concerts are free,” Sansoucy reiterated. “But we do accept donations.”

Now in her fifth year conducting the orchestra, Sansoucy praised the talent and dedication of the members,

“They are wonderful people to work with, just great people,” she said.