Christmas Concert with the Kotzschmar Organ and Sock Drive at Merrill Auditorium

November 2018

For Immediate Release

PORTLAND, Maine – The Friends of the Kotzschmar Organ are excited to announce this year’s holiday concert, “Christmas with Kennerley,” which will be held one night only, on Dec. 18, 2018. The city of Portland’s new municipal organist, James Kennerley, is excited for his first Christmas concert at Merrill Auditorium.

“Playing the Kotzschmar organ is always such a delight and an adventure,” Kennerley said. “This organ is such an impressive instrument and I’m thrilled to be a part of this beloved holiday tradition with music – it is not to be missed.”

The program will include a variety of holiday classics, from traditional carols to modern favorites. James will perform for the first time his new transcription of that most Christmassy of ballets, Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker. We’ll also enjoy Metropolitan Opera star soprano and Maine native, Ashley Emerson, singing James’ arrangements of O Holy Night and a number of other pieces arranged for especially this concert. The ChoralArt Singers will lend their dulcet voices to Christmas carols old and new—including all your favorites to sing along to—and will give the first performance of James Kennerley’s new Carol of the Bells that he composed earlier this year.

Also included on the program is Anthony DiLorenzo’s ’Twas The Night Before Christmas, a witty musical setting with narration of that famous Christmas story, performed by the thrilling sounds of the Kotzschmar Festival Brass & Percussion ensemble. We’ll enjoy a Baroque Christmas with glorious music from Venice and Germany. James will also perform an improvisation on seasonal melodies selected by the audience!

As Kennerley is known for his flamboyant and colorful socks when he plays the organ, the Friends of the Kotzschmar Organ thought that “Christmas with Kennerley” would be a great opportunity to collect new socks for those in need within the community with a sock drive.

Dan D’Ippolito, Community Engagement Director of Preble Street, a human service agency empowering people experiencing problems with homelessness, housing, hunger, and poverty, said “Socks are the most requested garment at Preble Street and shelters nationwide.” Concert goers may bring socks to Merrill Auditorium on the night of the concert, or for information on how to deliver the socks to Preble Street, please click here.

Concert details and tickets:

  • 7 PM: Prelude music by The Parish Ringers (20 mins’ of music)
  • 7:30 p.m. concert
    • James Kennerley
    • Asheley Emerson, soprano
    • Kotzschmar Festival Brass
    • ChoralArt Singers

Tickets available at PortTIX and over the phone at (207) 842-0800.

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