The Altoona Symphony Orchestra is aiming to make attendees at its annual holiday concert believe in the Christmas spirit, but also the beauty of believing in oneself.
The ASO will once again fill the Mishler Theatre with the sounds of the holiday season featuring local childrens' choirs with its 2012 Holiday Extravaganza concert at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in Altoona's Mishler Theatre. Maestra Teresa Cheung said the focus of this year's concert is: Believe.
"It is about the hope that we have and the grace that we experience when we believe in who we are," she said. "I get a lot of inspiration from people who triumph over adversities."
The ASO has invited tap dancer Joshua Johnson to perform with them.
Johnson of New York is attending Penn State Altoona and was tap dancing in New York on the weekends to make money to go to college. He recently rose to fame after appearing on the "Ellen Degeneres Show" and "Dancing with The Stars."
This year's guest performers are choirs from Hollidaysburg's Frankstown Elementary School directed by Mary Villani and Bellwood-Antis Middle School directed by Jennifer Wright.
If you go
What: Altoona Symphony Orchestra's 2012 Holiday Extravaganza
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Mishler Theatre, 1208 12th Ave.
Guest performers: Hollidaysburg's Frankstown Elementary School and Bellwood-Antis Middle School
Tickets: Adults, $33; students, $13. Available at http://mishlertheatre.org. For more information, call 943-2500.
On the web: www.altoonasymphony.org
"I think it is terrific to have someone like Josh to perform with us for Christmas because this is the sort of youth success stories that we need nowadays," Cheung said. "I cannot wait to see all the young people on stage with us. They are the hope for the future and this is what the season is all about."
Bass player Isaac McNulty, 14, a ninth grader at Altoona Junior High School, will perform in this year's holiday concert through the Altoona Symphony Apprenticeship Program.
Darla McNulty said her son has a gift from God and comes from a musical family. He plays upright bass, violin and piano. He plans on attending college as a music major.
Isaac said he has a "very strong passion" for music and is looking forward to the opportunity. He will also play in a spring concert with the orchestra.
ASO executive director Pamela Snyder Etters said tickets are selling quickly for the holiday show.
Some "extra goodies" could also make their way into the performance, she said.
"Christmas is the time we don't always want 'new.' That's why we always want turkey for Thanksgiving and old antique Christmas tree ornaments that have been passed down from the family," Cheung said when asked what was new for this year's show.
"Tradition is an important aspect in life and for our show every year," she said. "But with that being said, the audience can always expect new arrangements for music that we love, in ways that we will get to enjoy the familiar with a new pair of eyes and ears. The children's choir has some outstanding numbers and the orchestra will be performing a couple of exciting new arrangements."
Cheung hopes the audience experiences, "love, hope and joy: the important things about the season," at the show, she said.
The ASO is also running a special offer for the final two shows of the season - Sacred Music in Sacred Space: Durufl Requiem on March 2 and Brahms 4th on April 6. Both shows are at 7:30 p.m.
The tickets come with a Christmas card and ornament for holiday giving.
Mirror Staff Writer Amanda Gabeletto is at 949-7030.