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Jolly Jingles – December 12, 2023

Jolly Jingles


A joyful sound warmed all on this crisp December night and the Jolly Jingles concert hadn’t even started yet! Good tidings were exchanged throughout the auditorium with gleeful chatter both in the audience and on stage as the musicians prepared for the concert. This night was all about the comfort, joy, and celebration of friends and family.

The community turned out for this concert in a big way. The house was full as you can see in the photos.

The holidays are a special time of year, and children make it even more meaningful. There were young ones in the audience as well as on stage. The musicians included LaGrange Symphony Youth Orchestra members, Youth String Ensemble members, and select members of the LaGrange Symphony Orchestra.

JOLLY JINGLES – At this gathering time of year, the LSO brought together all these musical divisions onto one stage. There were even two additional quintet segments included. An LSO woodwind quintet, and an LSO brass quintet both played several holiday selections. This was a wonderfully full program emceed by Richard Prior. All music was conducted by Sam Lee, director of the String Ensemble, and Michael Giel, director of the LaGrange Symphony Youth Orchestra.

In looking at the program, the concert line up was impressively comprehensive. Maestro Michael Giel also wrote some thoughts within the printed program on this collaboration and pointed out some interesting connections between musicians on stage.

The String Ensemble

The String Ensemble, conducted by Sam Lee, began the concert with three pieces, Snow Chimes, Dona Nobis Pacem, and Let it Snow. The String Ensemble is the youngest of these musical divisions but their talent is very mature for their age. These young students sounded great and were obviously well prepared for these three pieces. Additionally they came back to join in a grand finale piece at the end of the concert!

String Ensemble
LSO Youth String Ensemble
LaGrange Symphony Youth Orchestra
LaGrange Symphony Youth Orchestra

LaGrange Symphony Youth Orchestra with LSO members

Next the LSYO, combined with select LSO members, performed a multitude of holiday favorites. The sound was lovely and confident. The audience was completely absorbed. This music included Forever Joyful!, Modern Christmas Classics, and Hanukkah Habanera. All were formally introduced and impressively delivered.

Richard Prior, as well as introducing the individual pieces, also recited the poem ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, with dramatic pauses where the orchestra chimed in to play a recognizable theme that related to the words in the poem. These themes came from all genres and were very entertaining to hear. It was also fun to see how quickly the audience made the connections. Well done!

To end this section of the performance, they played a superb rendition of Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. But, you don’t have to take my word for it. Here is a video snippet of the LSYO with select members of the LSO performing Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, written by Hugh Martin & Ralph Blane, arranged by Calvin Custer.

But there is much more!

Richard Prior introduced the next section of the concert – a special performance of an LSO Woodwind Quintet, and then a separate performance from an LSO Brass Quintet.

This was a chance for the musicians to choose pieces they enjoy and to show off their sections. Both quintets spoke a little about the music and why they chose it. Being that the LSYO, and obviously the String Ensemble are all string instruments, including woodwinds and brass gave a well rounded flow to the concert.

These musicians then took their places on stage.


At this point Maestro Michael Giel took a moment to say a few words and to recognize the dedication of all the students. They worked on this music and perfected it in only a few months.

He also wished Grant Endicott a happy birthday, and thanked him for his commitment to the group. The audience also wished him a very happy birthday.



After that the LSYO and the LSO came back to perform a wonderful rendition of Farandole, from LaArlesienne Suite No. 2 arranged by Merle Isaac. Even Scrooge would have been touched by the positivity and charm.

Mother Ginger

Then it was time for the grand finale which included all the musicians creating a very full stage. What better way to end this concert celebrating friends and family than to perform Mother Ginger from the Nutcracker Suite, in which all the musicians participated. It was heartwarming to know this was a rare opportunity for the String Ensemble students to perform with such a large group. They rose to the occasion! This piece was wonderfully played and was rewarded with a marvelous standing ovation.

Well done! This was a very joyful concert indeed!

The next LSO concert is March 19, 2024 – INSPIRE – where we will be exposed to Harmonious Inspiration, Lifelong Learning & New Discoveries along with hearing from the 2024 Young Artists Competition winning pianist, and enjoying the annual side-by-side with the LSYO. The symphonic highlight of this concert will be a beautiful symphony completed in 1934 by African American composer William Dawson (1899-1990)!

Merry Christmas to All, and to All a Good Night!


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