The Vance-Granville Community Band will perform its tenth annual winter holiday concert on Monday, Nov. 27, at 7:30 p.m. at McGregor Hall Performing Arts Center, located at 201 Breckenridge Street in downtown Henderson. Admission is free of charge.
Included in the concert will be a host of holiday favorites, including "Silver Bells,” "White Christmas,” "The First Noel,” "A French Noel" (Pat-A Pan), "Appalachian Carol" (Jesus, Jesus Rest Your Head), and a medley of Christmas classics including "I'll Be Home For Christmas,” "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" and "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.”
"The Night Before Christmas" will be presented in a “story-time” format, as Clement Moore's famous poem is read with band accompaniment.
The concert will begin with the traditional rendering of "The Star-Spangled Banner" and the state song, "The Old North State." Plus, as is customary for any ensemble led by the director of the band, Brian Miller, a Sousa march will be included. "No concert is complete without Sousa," according to Miller. "This year, while we are playing almost all Christmas music, we will of course play a Sousa march. It will be Sousa's classic 'The Invincible Eagle March,’ which the master of American music wrote in 1901."
Miller, in his second year as director of the Vance-Granville Community Band, was known locally as the man at the helm of the Louisburg High School band program for more than two decades, a band program that grew into one of the largest in the state and was known for its performance of Sousa marches and traditional band literature. Miller now teaches band and humanities at Crosscreek Charter School in Louisburg, is the organist for both Louisburg Baptist Church and Louisburg College, teaches part-time for VGCC, frequently serves as music director for the Louisburg College Drama department and is found at North Henderson Baptist Church on Sunday nights, playing the piano and sometimes preaching.
"We want everybody to come hear this free concert," said Miller. "It will be played right in the heart of historic downtown Henderson, in the center of this great community. The concert will only last about an hour, and hearing the band play these great old songs is a terrific way to usher in the holiday season."
The Community Band, which is sponsored by the VGCC Division of Arts and Sciences, includes people of all ages, from all walks of life, and from throughout the region. No auditions are required. Rehearsals are held on Monday evenings from 7-9 p.m. at the Vance-Granville Community College Civic Center, on the Main Campus in Henderson, at Exit 209 on Interstate 85 (Poplar Creek Road). For more information, contact Brian Miller at (919) 496-5877 or at firstname.lastname@example.org or Betsy Henderson at email@example.com.
Above: Brian Miller conducts the Vance-Granville Community Band during its 2016 holiday concert. (VGCC photo)