Redoubt Chamber Orchestra Conductor Tammy Vollom-Matturro leads the Kenai Peninsula Singers during a rehearsal on Dec. 11, 2017. The choir and orchestra will perform together in the 2019 Evening of Christmas on Friday, Dec. 15. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)

Redoubt Chamber Orchestra Conductor Tammy Vollom-Matturro leads the Kenai Peninsula Singers during a rehearsal on Dec. 11, 2017. The choir and orchestra will perform together in the 2019 Evening of Christmas on Friday, Dec. 15. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)

“Evening of Christmas” concert returns for 17th year

The evening features the Redoubt Chamber Orchestra and the Kenai Peninsula Singers.

The combination of strings and voices returns tonight for the 17th annual “Evening of Christmas” concert in Kenai.

A fundraiser for the Kenai Peninsula Orchestra, the evening features the Redoubt Chamber Orchestra and the Kenai Peninsula Singers in what KPO director Tammy Vollom-Matturro calls one of the most highly anticipated music events on the peninsula.

“It’s always one of our most popular concerts, it’s always well-attended,” Vollom-Matturro said. “Every year I try to throw in a couple pieces that are challenging for the orchestra.”

Vollom-Matturro leads the orchestra, while Kenai Central High School choir teacher Simon Nissen will head up the singing. Nissen founded the Kenai Peninsula Singers six years ago and in the first year joined the KPO for “Evening of Christmas.”

“So many people have such a strong nostalgia tied to holiday music,” Nissen said. “It takes them back to their childhood or time in their life where they were celebrating Christmas with certain people. It’s something familiar and comfortable.”

The annual holiday concert started off small in 2000 with the name “Evening of Classics,” according to Vollom-Matturo, who said the event grew in size. Originally held at the Christ Lutheran Church in Soldotna, the concert moved to Kenai Christian Church, and now calls the 800-plus seat Renee C. Henderson Auditorium home in order to satisfy demand.

“A lot of people say this concert is the kickoff to their holiday season,” she said. “That’s a big compliment to everyone doing it.”

The evening promises a mix of traditional Christmas songs and newer tunes, and the fusion of strings instruments and voices is what drives it all.

“It’s a perfect blending of familiar and new,” Vollom-Matturro said. “And yes, we are doing ‘Sleigh Ride’, so you can take out your keys and jingle along with it.”

Nissen said the ensemble brings together 60 choir voices, composed of singers of all ages from around the central peninsula.

“The orchestra is always excited to hear the choir, and the choir is ecstatic to hear the orchestra,” Nissen said. “It brings a different level to both groups for sure. It’s robust.”

Vollom-Matturro said the orchestra opens the first half of the concert, starting with the overture that different traditional Christmas songs, followed by a singalong that the audience is encouraged to join in on.

The second half is when the choir joins in, starting with an arrangement of “Silent Night” that Vollom-Matturro said is “absolutely stunning.”

“I’ve never heard anything like it,” she said. “I think that’s kind of the draw of this concert, it’s beautiful.”

Then there are the older carols, as Nissen put it, including “Carol to the King,” which is an older French piece, “Brightest and Best,” an old American hymn with a bluegrass feel, and then “Jingle Bell Rondo,” which Nissen explained incorporates the old familiar tune with a Mozart work.

Finally, the evening ends with the entire auditorium, audience included, standing up to sing “Hallelujah,” which Nissen said is an experience to take in.

“Evening of Christmas” begins Friday at 7 p.m. at the Renee C. Henderson Auditorium. Admission is $15 and ages 18 and under get in free.

More in News

Copies of the Peninsula Clarion are photographed on Friday, June 21, 2024. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)
Announcing a new Peninsula Clarion print schedule

Our last Wednesday edition will be delivered June 26.

A bucket of recently caught sockeye salmon rests on the sand while anglers seek to fill it further at the mouth of the Kasilof River on Monday, June 26, 2023, in Kasilof, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Dipnetting in Kasilof opens Tuesday

Dipnetting will be allowed at all times until Aug. 7

The Kasilof River is seen from the Kasilof River Recreation Area, July 30, 2019, in Kasilof, Alaska. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)
Fish and Game restricts bait on Kasilof, Ninilchik Rivers

The use of bait on the rivers will begin Friday and extend to July 15 in Ninilchik, July 31 in Kasilof

A man fishes in the Kenai River on July 16, 2018, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Peninsula Clarion/file)
Slow sockeye fishing on Kenai, Russian Rivers

Northern Kenai Fishing Report for June 20

Alaska Department of Fish and Game logo. (Graphic by Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Bag limits doubled for sockeye salmon in Resurrection Bay

The increase is effective from June 21 to July 31

Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion
Girl Scout Troop 210, which includes Caitlyn Eskelin, Emma Hindman, Kadie Newkirk and Lyberty Stockman, present their “Bucket Trees” to a panel of judges in the 34th Annual Caring for the Kenai Competition at Kenai Central High School on Thursday, April 18.
Caring for the Kenai winners receive EPA award

Winning team of the 34th annual Caring for the Kenai was selected for the President’s Environmental Youth Award

Norm Blakely speaks to the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly in Soldotna, Alaska, on Tuesday, June 18, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Assembly approves resolution guiding efforts to increase voter turnout

The Voter Turnout Working Group was established to explore options and ideas aimed at increasing voter participation

Most Read