Miami Valley Symphony Orchestra’s
annual holiday concert

Photo: The Miami Valley Symphony Orchestra performs their annual Holiday Concert this Saturday. Pictured: Trumpeter Tom Jacobs

By Timothy Walker


For many, it just doesn’t feel like Christmas unless they’re surrounded by the beautiful sounds of holiday music favorites. Whether you’re a fan of jazz, pop, rock, country, or classical, the wholesome strains of festive carols, heartfelt hymns, and timeless classics never fail to find their way into your ears this time of year, bringing along fond thoughts and pleasant memories of Christmases long past. The music truly makes the season come alive in our hearts.

If you’re looking for a way to take a break from your holiday shopping and celebrate Christmas while enjoying some wonderful music at the same time, you might want to make plans to attend the Miami Valley Symphony Orchestra’s upcoming 2017 Holiday Concert. The performance will be held at the Dayton Masonic Center on Saturday, Dec. 16, and there will actually be two performances that day, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Admission to the concert is free, and the shows are open to all ages.

“The Holiday Concert is an annual event,“ says John Root, president and concertmaster for the Miami Valley Symphony Orchestra (MVSO). Root has been involved with the MVSO since the 1990s, and he has been president for the last 7 years. “It’s a partnership between the MVSO, the Dayton Masonic Foundation, and the local lodge here. What we do is, for the past few years we’ve been presenting a free holiday concert, which is open to the public. It takes place at the Dayton Masonic Center downtown, which is just a gorgeous place.”

The concert program features a variety of songs, with pieces chosen to delight holiday music lovers of all kinds. Traditional Christmas carols such as “We Need a Little Christmas,” “I’ll Be Home For Christmas,” and “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” will be represented. More strictly classical fare from the MVSO will be included as well, with “March of the Toys” from Victor Herbert’s operetta, “Babes in Toyland,” “Fantasia on Greensleeves” from Vaughan Williams’ 1928 opera “Sir John in Love,” and excerpts from Gioachino Rossini’s ballet, The Fantastic Toyshop, featured as well. “Christmas at the Movies,” a medley of musical themes from a variety of holiday films, will be presented as well.

“We’ll be presenting the entire concert twice,” continues John Root. “Once at 2 p.m. and then again at 7. Every year we try to have guests join us, and once again, this year, the Gem City Ballet will be joining us. They’ll present choreographed ballet on two different numbers—something that is always a lot of fun for the kids. We also have a local vocalist by the name of Joshua Clifford—some folks may recognize him as Lazar Wolf the Butcher from our production of “Fiddler on the Roof” last year. So Joshua will be our soloist, and we have a young man named Matthew Shin who has played with the symphony before. He’s now in graduate studies for cello, and he’s coming back to join us. He’s going to play Bach’s “Ave Maria” solo with the orchestra as well. So, we’ll actually have three different guests joining us this year.”

When Root is asked if families with young listeners are welcome at both performances, he answers, “Yes, absolutely. We want this to be a very family-friendly concert. Everyone is welcome. There’s no intermission, and the music will run about 75 minutes. It’s sized just right to bring the kids. Seating is open, with no reserved seats, and there will be plenty of room. I believe we’re able to accommodate 1500 audience members at each concert.”

The Miami Valley Symphony Orchestra proudly celebrated 25 years of performance in the Dayton community with the 2014-2015 season. The MVSO was established in 1989 by Pat Carson and Keith Prentice, co-founders of Theatre Under the Stars, and its mission has always remained the same: provide an organization where talented local musicians from all walks of life could volunteer their time to perform great orchestral music for the public at affordable prices. While the Dayton Masonic Center has been hosting holiday concerts for years, the music was previously provided by the Air Force’s Band of Flight. Recently, however, with the Band of Flight’s budgetary constraints forcing it to reduce its number of concerts, the MVSO has stepped in, and it now plans to continue this area tradition far into the future.

“It’s something for the kids, and something for the parents,” says John Root. “And we will have a special guest visitor from the North Pole, from what I understand. So really, there’s no better way for local families to celebrate the season.”

The Miami Valley Symphony Orchestra will be holding its annual Holiday Concert on Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017 at the Dayton Masonic Center at 525 W Riverview Ave in Dayton. There will be two performances that day, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Admission is free and open to all ages. For more information, go to

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Tim Walker is 51 and a writer, DJ, and local musician. He lives with his wife and their two children in Dayton, where he enjoys pizza, jazz, and black T-shirts. Reach DCP freelance writer Tim Walker at

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