Festive tunes: UTRGV to present ‘Home for the Holidays’

Members of the UTRGV School of Music perform during one of their holiday concerts. (Courtesy: UTRGV)

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley’s School of Music wants to get you in the holiday spirit by providing music that will bring back those long cherished Christmas memories.

The UTRGV Patrons of the Art will present “Home for the Holidays” at 7 p.m. Sunday, in Brownsville and at 7 p.m. Wednesday, in Edinburg playing all those holiday classics. Both events are free and open to the public.

“In an effort to get people back to going to see performances we decided to do everything for free, said Kurt Martinez, director of UTRGV’s School of Music. “They have been away for so long and we think it’s important to stimulate people’s desire to want to go and hear the music and be enlightened by the music.”

Some of the songs you will hear are some of the holiday classics such as “O Holy Night,” “Sleigh Ride,” and “White Christmas.”

“The Home For the Holidays is basically a tradition the school of music has had probably at least 15 to 20 years. We have done it for a long time. It started in Brownsville and now we are at the point where we do it in Brownsville and in Edinburg,” Martinez said.

The concert will feature the large student ensembles that are the band, the orchestra and the choir. Each has at least 40 to 60 members in it.

“It’s a lot of students and a lot of the best known Christmas carols,” that will be performed on those two nights, Martinez said. “It’s all about celebrating the holiday and it’s a way for the school of music to give back to the community; to enlighten the community with the holiday spirit.”

The UTRGV School of Music will hold its “Home for the Holidays” concert at 7 p.m Sunday in Brownsville and at 7 p.m. Wednesday, in Edinburg. (Courtesy: UTRGV)

Because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic there was no holiday concert last year. It was too elaborate of a production to perform online, he said.

The groups practice for about a month to get ready for such a big performance. The ensemble directors are in charge in selecting which songs will be performed. They include Sean Taylor, the choir director, Saul Torres, the band director, and Norman Gamboa, the orchestra director.

“They think about songs that are going to be appropriate to kick off the holiday season,” Martinez said. The concert will be about an hour long.

“We feel like it is something that is needed, something that is really needed …music is something that can really change and lighten people and change if there’s a sense of fear, this is something that can help alleviate that and let people know the world is going on and music needs to be part of that healing process in order for the world to go on,” he added.

The Brownsville concert will be held at the TSC Performing Arts Center at 90 Taylor Ave., while the Edinburg concert will be held at UTRGV Performing Arts Complex at 1201 W. University Dr.

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