By DEREK HALSEY, The Herald-Dispatch
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (AP) – During this time of year, there are many holiday-themed events taking place at the start of the season.
The Huntington Symphony Orchestra, however, has decided to host their show “Home For The Holidays” on Monday, December 20, during Christmas week. And to make it a showcase for local talent, special guests were invited to the production.
The concert will be hosted by the Foundry Theater, a new arts group that has taken over the 800-seat Jean Carlo Stephenson auditorium located at City Hall to produce a range of shows in 2021.
For this production, directed by director Ian Jessee and conductor Maestro Kimo Furumoto, the Huntington Symphony Orchestra went out of their way and brought together the best talent from this region. Along with the orchestra filling the stage, a newly formed choir of 50 people will be playing along with guest dancers chosen from various dance studios found locally.
To anchor the evening, guest singers Carline Waugh and Ryan Hardiman will also be in the spotlight.
The Home For the Holidays show will start at 7:30 p.m. on December 20 and general admission tickets are $ 35. The venue is located at 800 5th Ave. in downtown Huntington.
âThe show is called ‘Home For The Holidays’, but it will be more than just a Christmas and Hanukkah show because it will be a celebration of the return of the performing arts in these times of pandemic,â Jessee said. âWe will celebrate the singing voice with fantastic soloists.
Ryan Hardiman is a favorite of the local stage scene in the tri-state area with his Michael Buble type pop voice. We will also feature Carline Waugh, a wonderful soprano singer from Marshall Faculty. Carline is an incredible singer who will gratify us with soprano delights. “
Hardiman is a graphic designer and artistic director of his company Ryan Hardiman Design in Barboursville, who also happens to be a renowned regional singer. He has performed in shows ranging from “Les MisÃ©rables” to “Cabaret” and “Rent”.
Waugh is originally from Jamaica and has performed operas and solo recitals around the world, from Russia and Italy to the United States. She has performed everything from Puccini’s operas to the works of George Gershwin. She has also lectured and taught voice at colleges and schools across the country, which led to her current position as Assistant Professor of Voice at Marshall University.
âWe also formed the Huntington Symphony Orchestra Choir for this show,â Jessee said. âWe have assembled a great team of co-directors to form this choir of around fifty singers. One is Dr Briana Nannen, who is the assistant director of choral music education at Marshall who leads the college choir and leads the college a cappella group at 3rd Avenue. Jacob Smith, who also co-directs our new choir, teaches choir and drama at Spring Valley High School while also working with the Alchemy Theater Troupe and the Huntington Area Regional Theater. We hope this brand new chorus becomes a regular addition to the music scene in Huntington. And, for symphonic purposes, I would like to have at least one piece on our orchestral program each year that includes a major choral work.
This Christmas celebration will also include the voices and dances of the children, whose perspective and imagination add to the festive time of year.
âWe also brought in the Wayne County Elementary School Honorary Choir,â Jessee said. âThey are simply delicious. Their director, Sherri Tadlock, contacted me when they heard we were looking for a children’s choir, and I was blown away. So, with the children’s choir singing with us, we will celebrate the season with movement and dance with scenes from âThe Nutcrackerâ. To accomplish this, we have invited dance studios from Ashland, Huntington and as far away as Hurricane, West Virginia to perform with us including the Art Center School of Dance, Ashland Youth Ballet. , the Huntington Dance Theater and January’s at Chase Park Dance Studio.
Director Jessee and everyone else have their hands full with this production because there are a lot of moving parts. Yet the purpose of this performance is to bring the tri-state together to help revive the performing arts in Huntington and the region.
âThe goal is to build community through this performance – at least that’s what my goal is with this show,â Jessee said. âIt’s a celebration of the return of the performing arts to the stage after the 17, 18 or 19 months of pandemic darkness we’ve all been through. I mean, we really want to celebrate this. Can you imagine the holidays without live music? Leave me alone. And our wonderful Huntington Symphony Orchestra will be featured in this show as we will be playing classical arrangements that Maestro Kimo has selected for the musicians, so it will be a wonderful event.
Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.