What: “A Wichita Falls Holiday Celebration” Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra & Wichita Falls Youth Symphony Orchestra

Where: Memorial Auditorium, Seventh and Broad Street

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15

Information: WFSO.org and (940) 723-6202

The Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra will regale area listeners with a pre-Christmas musical celebration at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15, at Memorial Auditorium. Special guests will be the Wichita Falls Youth Symphony Orchestra who will perform with the WFSO during the second half of the program.

“A Wichita Falls Holiday Celebration” will be made up of shorter pieces beginning with Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker Suite” from the ballet. The WFSO will then perform two pieces by American composer Leroy Anderson (best known for his work for the Boston Pops with Arthur Fielder), “Bugler’s Holiday” and “The Typewriter.”

The evening’s first half concludes with Robert Wendel’s “Overture to a Merry Christmas (After Mozart)” which combines the music of Mozart with Christmas music.

The second half, performed with the WFYSO, will include a Christmas singalong medley allowing the audience to sing with the songs. The combined orchestra will perform Shastokovitch’s “Festive Overture” and Ravel’s “Bolero” as well as finishing with Anderson’s “Caribbean Sleigh Ride.”


Dr. Susan Harvey, chair of the Midwestern State University music department, will also conduct “Christmas Eve/Sarajevo,” a piece the Trans-Siberian Orchestra has made famous. Harvey usually conducts the WFYSO.

This year the holiday performance will be a little different, said WFSO musical director and conductor, Fouad Fakhouri. “I decided to collaborate with the Wichita Falls Youth Symphony Orchestra. The second half of the concert will be our orchestra playing side by side with members of the youth orchestra.

For example, in the strings section, he said, each of the professional WFSO musicians will share the stand with a member of the WFYSO. “Each stand has space for two musicians.” There will be a total of 125 musicians on stage for the second half, 60 WFYSO and 65 WFSO members.

“The idea,” Fakhouri said, “is to have the kids learning from professional musicians to see how we perform as a professional orchestra. Hopefully that will give them the tools and knowledge they need to go back to what they do when they play and to help them develop.

The conductor compared it to an apprenticeship. “It’s one thing to take lessons with a teacher or be in a master class, but it’s very different to be in an environment where you are actually performing with a professional musician and to see how they do it in real time.

 “The holiday part of the evening is festive and a little bit more related to the occasion,” Fakhouri said. “The serious part, and I always try to do this with a holiday concert, is for the younger musicians to learn.

Both the Shastokovich and Ravel piece will not be easy for the students, he said. “It will push them musically. While ‘Bolero’ may seem easy, it’s not a simple piece. I want to challenge the kids and have them experience a true professional symphony orchestra environment.”

Fakhouri said the concert is the perfect way to end the year. “I am hoping a lot of members from the community come out.

“The purpose is to bring people to have a good time and to listen to music that will get them into the mood for the season as well as to have the children perform with us and to engage with professional musicians.”