Author: Jill Kimball

CU’s Holiday Festival boasts old favorites and new surprises

The annual event returns to Macky Auditorium Dec. 2-4.

This December, CU Presents marks the beginning of the merry season with its beloved Holiday Festival, a decades-long Boulder tradition boasting joyful performances by CU Boulder musicians and beautiful holiday decorations inside historic Macky Auditorium. Limited tickets remain to all four performances in the festival, which runs Dec. 2 to 4.

Inspiring sold-out audiences for more than 30 years, Boulder’s favorite holiday concert features the College of Music orchestra, choirs, jazz and chamber ensembles and faculty soloists in an event that sparks the joy and warmth of the season.

Gregory Gentry, CU Boulder’s director of choral studies, says this year’s concerts feature old favorites and fun new surprises.

“The audience always asks us to bring back ‘Betelehemu’”—a stirring Nigerian carol— “and Leroy Anderson’s ‘Sleigh Ride’ and ‘Christmas Festival Overture,’ and we’ll definitely oblige,” Gentry says.

For the first time ever, audiences will hear an arrangement of the traditional Hanukkah song “Hal’luhu,” Josh Groban’s anthem “Thankful,” orchestral music from “Home Alone” and the vocal quartet “Snow,” as heard in the classic film “White Christmas.”

And as always, the audience will be invited to make joyful noise with CU Boulder’s choirs and instrumental ensembles by singing along to Handel’s famous Hallelujah Chorus at the evening’s end.

Gentry says this eclectic and mirthful mix of music is what keeps Boulderites coming back to the festival year after year.

“People seem to love listening to the blend of new and familiar, and the decorations and special lighting in Macky are just icing on the cake,” Gentry says.

Ultimately, though, Holiday Festival’s continuing success is thanks to CU’s dedicated student performers.

“The musical integrity of these concerts is what really attracts our audiences,” Gentry says, “and this year will be no exception.”