Festival of Sound Offers ‘Twist’ on Holiday Tunes at Wheeling Park High School

This year’s Wheeling Park High School Festival Sound promises to offer “tradition with a twist,” according to staff and students.

The 24th-annual event will begin at 7 p.m. Dec. 8 and Dec. 9 and at 2 p.m. on Dec. 10 at the J.B. Chambers Performing Arts Center at the high school.

This showcase of the nearly 350 members of the music department will feature many holiday favorites, such as “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” “The First Noel” and “We Three Kings.” But many of the arrangements bring a new twist and a fresh perspective to these Christmas classics.

This annual tradition features the many performance ensembles at Wheeling Park, including the Concert Band, Jazz Ensemble, Steel Band, Symphonic Winds, Percussion Ensemble, String Orchestra, Concert Choir, Voices of Freedom and the Young Patriots. They powerfully join forces to open and close each half of the show.

Many of the students are in multiple ensembles, so they can be seen moving about the stage from their choir position to one of their instrumental positions.

The directors for this year’s performance include David Alfred, Seth Bell, Christie Curley, Joyce Jingle, Ben Podolski and Walt Warren. Alfred attributes the success of this performance to the talent and dedication of the students, crediting their music teachers throughout their Ohio County education.

According to Christie Curley, “We get to do a matinee performance of Festival of Sound for the middle school students. They see the show and picture themselves as a part of this huge production. It sparks excitement at an early age, and that is why we can continue this tradition with renewed strength every year.

“The collaboration between the bands, choirs and orchestras is what impresses me most. It is a process that begins in early September and intensifies as we approach the holiday season,” Curley continued.

To senior choir and orchestra member, Morgan Glass, the performance means getting through the stress of weeks of preparation to be able to smile with both relief and excitement after nailing a performance.

“It means sharing the holiday spirit among my friends and with the community through music, the best medium for a message,” she said.

For Katherine Leary, like most seniors, “It’s so sad to think my last Festival of Sound is nearly here, but I’m so proud of the music I’ve been a part of.”

Tickets for the Festival of Sound are available at the main office of Wheeling Park High School or at the Ohio County Board of Education office at 2203 National Road in Elm Grove. A discounted rate is available for children, and patrons are encouraged to purchase tickets early.

All seats are general admission.

Tickets are also available at the door but cannot be guaranteed.


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