Reviewer: Connor S. Rosseau
Venue: The Temple Theatre
The Saginaw Choral Society performs A Classy Brassy Christmas at The Temple Theatre in Saginaw Michigan on December 2, 2023
December is dawning, and the Saginaw Choral Society ensured the month of candy canes, Santa Claus, hot chocolate, and friends and family received a warm welcome. The Choral Society performed on a cold Saturday afternoon in Saginaw, Michigan as Father Winter fights for control over our beautiful, bipolar state.
Conductor Jeremiah Kraniak kept the music selection closely tied to the most well-known, classic Christmas tunes all members of the family could enjoy. “Here We come A-Caroling,” “O Holy Night,” “Do You Hear What I Hear,” and many more brought back memories of magical Christmas Eve church services and other warm, bright Christmas celebrations from my childhood.
This performance, which had been rehearsed for countless hours for several months, managed to pull together the best vocal, instrumental, and artistic talent from the Saginaw region. News anchors Bill Harris and Lisa Marie talked the audience through each selection of songs and gave a brief history of the tunes, providing a fascinating context and perspective to some of society’s greatest Christmas hits.
Now this recital was no mere musical marvel from the Saginaw Choral Society alone. A Classy Brassy Christmas featured a big band with shiny saxophones, trumpets, and trombones, along with a guitarist, pianist, vocalist, and a youth choir. The coalescence of these powerful musical forces showered the audience with the sound of timeliness Christmas tunes that have been enjoyed for centuries in the same manner we enjoy them today: with a live audience.
The Youth Choir did more than just add higher notes to the songs sung. Seeing children involved in the Classy Brassy Christmas gives me and my family hope for the future of the arts. Utilizing the talented, higher voices of a younger chorus makes for a powerful investment in the preservation and success of the arts in Saginaw County while also providing children the experience of live stage performances. Keeping the arts alive with performers of all ages ensures that traditions like the Classy Brassy Christmas continue in our culturally rich community for decades to come.
There is something about such a performance that strikes me differently as an adult than such recitals would as a child. As we adults embrace some of life’s cold realities, that magical warmth of Christmas can flicker and fade. The older I get, the more of a challenge it is to get into the Christmas spirit come December. I’ve come to understand that the joy of Christmas is found in the simplest of things like colorful lights, good company, and rich music. This December, it was the Classy Brassy Christmas that threw me headfirst into the Christmas spirit. Immediately upon entering the Temple Theatre, the colorful red and green lights, the Christmas trees, smiling faces, and the unity of a community embracing the holiday season was enough to make even Mr. Scrooge smile with warmth.
This was the 11th annual Classy Brassy Christmas, and I look forward to attending many more. There’s no doubt such an event that unites all the greatest aspects of the holiday season in one grand performance will always put me in the Christmas spirit.