Area residents kicked off the holiday season by enjoying the tenth annual Vance-Granville Community Band holiday concert on Nov. 27 at McGregor Hall Performing Arts Center in downtown Henderson.
Sean Caple of Louisburg, a VGCC student and Franklin County Early College High School sophomore, served as the master of ceremonies. Veteran vocalist Raynah Adams of Henderson, who has been featured in several Community Band concerts over the years, started the evening of music off by singing both “The Star-Spangled Banner” and the state song, “The Old North State,” with the band.
The community band director, Brian D. Miller of Louisburg, conducted most pieces, while associate conductor and Terrell Lane Middle School band teacher Tracie Winstead assumed the baton on two, "A French Noel" (Pat-A Pan) and "The First Noel.”
Winstead, a bassoonist, also joined saxophonists Robert Bass of Henderson, Jeff Myers of Townsville and Tom Koinis of Oxford in the “Old Vanguard Quartet,” playing two pieces, “And The Glory of the Lord, from The Messiah” by Handel and the Christmas carol, “It Came Upon The Midnight Clear.”
The concert program included a variety of Christmastime classics like “Silver Bells,” "White Christmas,” "Appalachian Carol" (Jesus, Jesus Rest Your Head), and a medley of "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.”
Claire Ramsey, who plays French horn in the band, narrated Clement Moore’s famous poem, "’Twas The Night Before Christmas" with band accompaniment.
While most of the music was seasonal, the ensemble also presented John Philip Sousa’s rarely-heard 1901 “The Invincible Eagle March,” in keeping with Miller’s maxim that no band concert is “complete” without Sousa.
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). The band can next be heard on Saturday, December 9, at approximately 4 p.m., for the Prelude to the Warren County Christmas Parade in downtown Warrenton.
For more information, contact Brian Miller at (919) 496-5877 or at firstname.lastname@example.org or Betsy Henderson at email@example.com.
Above: Vance-Granville Community Band and “Old Vanguard Quartet” members, from left, Robert Bass of Henderson (alto saxophone), Tracie Winstead of Louisburg (bassoon), Tom Koinis of Oxford (alto saxophone) and Jeff Myers of Townsville (tenor saxophone), perform a holiday selection during the Community Band concert in McGregor Hall. (VGCC photo)
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