Tap-dancing Santas, music and storytelling at the Symphony


December 12th, 2012

Omaha, NE – The sound of little violins and tap-dancing Santas means an Omaha holiday tradition is just around the corner.

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The Omaha Symphony’s annual Christmas with the Symphony celebration opens this Thursday. Joining the Symphony is a group of Broadway directors, singers, and dancers, and the production is more than just a concert, said Conductor Ernest Richardson.

Christmas with the Symphony runs Dec. 13-15 with matinees Saturday and Sunday, in the Holland Performing Arts Center. (Courtesy photo)

“There’s a tremendous amount of theatre and high production values,” Richardson said. “The directors bring the Broadway theatrical notion of things. There’s a pacing that comes from Broadway, there’s a way of presenting different set pieces that really begin to tell a story.”

“Within each little vignette that we produce there’s a notion of storytelling through the music, through dance,” he added.

Local talent also plays an important role. Violin students studying with Symphony musician Anne Nagosky will also perform, and Richardson said the students deliver. “We write music that enables her whole studio to play with the orchestra,” he said. “It’s all done by memory and they all look great, done up in their Christmas finery.”

“It is amazing what she does,” he said, “and we always look forward to that in the show.”

Fancy lights, costumes, and scenery enhance the performance, but Richardson said what really makes this concert special is the message. It’s “very much about family this year,” he said. “We didn’t plan it that way in particular, it’s just that the music that we selected and the scenes that we started putting together that were inspired by these various songs end up being very family oriented.”

Of course, it wouldn’t be Christmas with the Symphony without a visit from St. Nick. “We have tap-dancing Santas with ‘Be a Santa,’” Richardson said, “but he’s real of course.”

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